One thing I didn’t notice right away is that the number of female participants (including presenters) at the conference was very high.
In Canada and the U.S., it seems that women are not that interested in the hard sciences like maths, engineering, or computer science. And that’s not because they are kept out of those faculties; quite the contrary: there are numerous incentives and wooing programs; or that they can’t do it: they just don’t care, it seems. Women study more than men (in a 2:1 ratio in universities, at least in Québec) but they do not choose engineering, maths, or computer science; they prefer health and care studies, like medicine, social works, etc.
Here, in Malaysia, there seems to be a large number of women studying in engineering, computer science and maths; at least a great deal more than in Canada. I wonder if we could borrow their strategies to get women to be interested in engineering and sciences or if it is rather the result of a fundamental cultural difference between our two countries. I say I wonder if it’s not cultural because a large percentage of the women (but not all) wore a conspicuous hijab headscarf.
Readers, any ideas/impressions on this?