iWiSE stands for Indian Women in Science and Engineering and we have our beginnings at the Indian Institute of Technology Ropar. We got together for the first time on August 10th, 2010 in one of our lecture halls here on the transit campus. It was a meeting to introduce the group to each other, talk about our issues as women that are common amongst all and just build a group-effort atmosphere. It was great fun talking about stereotypes, fears, dreams and activities we would like to participate in. It was a round-table meeting with one faculty facilitator and aimed at being a non-hierarchical atmosphere whose goal was to encourage open discussion. This was followed by electing a number of student facilitators as we don’t believe in titles (such as president etc., that is outside the realm of our good fun atmosphere) or an authoritarian structure. Student facilitators take on a leadership role to enable co-ordination amongst all members and we recognize the extra effort and time they take out of their day towards activities for iWiSE. Our goals are broadly to:
(a)Bring together a group of women who are already in the Sciences and Engineering to share ideas on their day to day lives, both professionally and personally.
(b)Recognize that this group of women is already in a very privileged position being in a difficult field of study and coming from what are really prestigious institutions in the country in order to pay our success forward.
(c)Encourage leadership by activities in the local community including local-area schools where our members serve as role-models or just plain mentors who take on a very low-profile but emphatic role in encouraging other children and women to consider our field of study; and
(d)Be an inclusive group that extends across several institutions that agree to our basic tenets of a non-authoritarian setup, facilitation roles and active community involvement.
At the end of the day, we are in this to support other girls on campus in a non-competitive manner, support the community with our actions and learn and assimilate the great experiences from where we are. We also go for runs and walks together, where we end up giggling for hours and sharing our stories outside work! We are a fun and focussed group and we hope you can join us.