Fonds F-39 - Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology fonds

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Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology fonds

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  • Sound recordings
  • Moving images
  • Photographic materials
  • Textual records

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  • Source of title proper: Title of the fonds is based on the name of the organization.

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  • 1981 - 2005 (Creation)
    Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology

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Physical description

3.13 m of textual records
403 photographs
22 sound recordings
2 artifacts
1 multi-media record

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Administrative history

The Society of Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) was founded in Vancouver BC in 1981 by six women: Mary Vickers, Hilda Ching, Abby Schwarz, Mary Jo Duncan, Diana Herbst, and Maggie Benston. SCWIST is a volunteer non-profit organization incorporated under the BC Societies Act; in 1984 it was registered as a charity under the federal Income Tax Act. It continues as an active organization.

SCWIST's mandate is to promote, support and empower women in the fields of science and technology. To this end, the Society works (i) to promote equal opportunities for women in scientific, technological and engineering careers; (ii) to improve social attitudes on the stereotyping of careers in science and educate the public about careers in science and technology; and (iii) to assist educators by providing current information on careers and career training, science and scientific policies. It realizes these goals through the organization of conferences and networking events, delivery of public educational outreach programs, production of resource material (videos, publications and handbooks), liaison with other organizations, and participation in granting, advocacy and advisory bodies.

From the six founders in 1981, membership in SCWIST grew rapidly to approximately 160 by 1984; subsequently, membership increased more slowly, reaching approximately 200 by 1993. The Annual General Meeting – held each spring and open to all members of the Society – votes on major decisions and elects the Executive Board of Directors. The Board is headed by the Society's president and meets regularly in Vancouver, while much of the on-going work of SCWIST is carried out by a number of standing and ad hoc committees appointed by the Board. Since 1992 SCWIST has maintained a permanent Resource Centre in Vancouver.

Major milestones in SCWIST history include the production of the Registry of Skilled Women, BC and Yukon (1983); the organization of the first National Conference on Women in Science and Technology (1983); the development of the following educational programs: Girls in Science (1984), Ms. Infinity (1990), and Project Tomorrow (1993); the establishment of the SCWIST scholarship (1986)--renamed the Maggie Benston Scholarship in 1991; the opening of a Resource Centre (1992); and the launching of the SCWIST web site (1997).

Custodial history

The bulk of the records were in the custody of SCWIST member Maria Issa, who transferred them to the Archives in November 1997. A second, smaller accession of records from the Resource Centre was donated to the Archives in July 2000.

Scope and content

The fonds of the Society comprises records made and received in the course of administering the organization and carrying out its functions and programs. Geographically, SCWIST activities centre primarily on British Columbia. Activities documented include Annual General Meetings and monthly Executive Board meetings; administration of the Resource Centre; funding and financial management; liaison with other bodies; conferences and networking events; educational outreach programs; advisory work; advocacy and public relations. Records include constitution and by-laws; meeting agendas and minutes; correspondence; financial summaries and reports; presentations, reports and briefs; handbooks, manuals and publications; photographs; and audio recordings of Society conferences and workshops.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated to the Archives by SCWIST in two accessions in November 1997 and July 2000 respectively. The Archives received a third accession from SCWIST in January 2008.


Series titles and arrangement are based on the most recent version of the Society's file classification plan, which was effective as of March 31, 2000. This plan is function-based and groups together records generated by activities falling under a similar function. Older records which may not originally have been organized according to any classification plan have been arranged according to these categories. The one exception concerns Series F-39-3, Liaison and cooperation records. This series and its title have been supplied by the archivist in order to group together files functionally related but which did not fall under any other classification. Because overlap among groupings can occur, please consult the entire file list in order to determine the existence of all files on a particular subject. Within files, documents generally follow chronological order.
When processing the third accession from SCWIST in 2008, the archivist created series F 39-7, Photographs, in order to group together snapshots that reflected activities described in a number of series.

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Restrictions on access

Some files may contain personal or confidential information. Access to these files may be restricted as stipulated by Archives policy or the donor. Files marked 'pending review' must be reviewed by an archivist prior to release, and as a result of the review access restrictions may apply. Please see the file lists and consult the archivist for more details.

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Finding aids

File list is available.

Generated finding aid

Associated materials

For other material relating to women in science, technology and trades, consult the inventories to the Kate Braid fonds (F 10), the Vancouver Women in Trades fonds (F 7), and the Women's Labour History Collection (F 67).

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All accessions have been processed as of September 2008. Further accruals are expected. According to the Agreement to Transfer signed by SCWIST and the Archives, the Society will donate its inactive records to the Archives once every five years.

General note


Photographs are located in series F-39-7 (390 photos), and in the following files: F-39-5-3-0-28 (5 photos), F-39-5-4-0-8 (6 photos), and F-39-5-5-0-3 (2 photos). Artefacts (2 buttons) are located in file F-39-6-0-0-9.

Fonds also includes 29 audio cassettes (originals) and 1 CD (see item lists).

General note

Financial assistance for the arrangement and description of the records and production of the finding aid was generously provided by the Government of British Columbia through the Archives Association of British Columbia's Community Archives Assistance Program (March 2001); SFU's Faculty of Applied Sciences (March 2000); and the Society of Canadian Women in Science And Technology (March 2000).

Financial assistance for the arrangement and description of these records and production of the finding aid was generously provided by the Government of Canada's National Archival Development Program (2008).

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Finding aid prepared by Richard Dancy, Frances Fournier, Enid Britt (February 2001); updated in March 2006, October 2008, and July 2011; revised in August 2012 (items converted to new numbering and control system).

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