Girls and women get a chance to be on naval vessels during Operation: This is You!, one of the programs of the Achieve Anything Foundation. (Brodie Winkler photo)

Woman’s foundation gets B.C. boost to help girls and women

The Achieve Anything Foundation offers programs to spotlight careers in science and tech fields.

A group started by Langley woman to encourage women and girls to go into non-traditional jobs will receive a $250,000 grant from the province.

The Achieve Anything Foundation, created by Kirsten Brazier, encourages girls and women to pursue careers rooted in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

“Since 2012, more than 67,600 people have participated in our events, and 9,172 girls and women have enjoyed a free first-flight experience,” said Brazier, president of the Achieve Anything Foundation. “Our programs employ a unique hands-on approach toward inspiring girls and women to pursue STEM-based fields, such as aviation, aerospace, marine and defence.”

Brazier is behind the Sky’s the Limit – Girls Fly Too events that have taken place at airports in the Yukon, Langley and now Abbotsford.

The Achieve Anything Foundation also co-ordinates Operation: This is You!, which partners with Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services, the Vancouver Police Department, the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Coast Guard and other agencies to offer hands-on experience events.

Females are under-represented in STEM-based areas of study and in careers, such as aviation, aerospace, marine and defence. The Langley-based foundation is dedicated to establishing year-round programs that spark interest for girls and women in those disciplines.

“Our government is committed to supporting innovation, and that means making sure that we aren’t missing out on the talent and skills women can bring STEM disciplines,” said Melanie Mark, minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “This funding supports young women to train for good-paying 21st-century jobs, and to become the leaders and drivers of a strong, sustainable economy that builds the best B.C. for everyone.”

In 2015-16, women represented 53 per cent of B.C.’s post-secondary students, but only 37 per cent of STEM-program credentials were issued to women.

In B.C. 5.5 per cent of woman have STEM-based post secondary education compared with 13.9 per cent of men.

“We all benefit when women and girls are empowered to follow their dreams,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “Encouraging gender equity in the tech fields of science, technology, engineering and math will have a lasting, positive impact on B.C.’s economy, as well as our society.”

Learn more about the foundation at www.achieveanything.ca.

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