“We have to make the effort now to reach out to women, to recruit them and to retain them,” says Dr. Judy Illes, Professor of Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics at UBC, and Director of the National Core for Neuroethics. “We have to make that greater effort now so that in the future we won’t have to. The system will be self-sustaining. Women will be taking and sustaining leadership roles.”

On March 9, The University of British Columbia (UBC) and the UBC National Core for Neuroethics will host 100 Years WISE: Women in Science and Engineering Bridging the Past and the Future, a UBC Centennial event.

Moderated by Dr. Illes and Dr. Simon Peacock, Dean of the Faculty of Science, WISE promises an evening of dynamic discussion about diversity in the sciences, technology, engineering, math, and medicine, and features a line-up of speakers including a former Canadian Prime Minister, university presidents, health and industry leaders, and the next generation of research stars.

Last year, Dr. Illes resigned from the selection committee of the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame in protest of a nomination process that failed over several years to recognize a female candidate and the diversity of Canada’s leadership.

“We brought attention to the fact that women are not receiving enough recognition for their contributions to academia and the sciences in general,” says Dr. Illes.

“100 Years WISE represents the next step in a much-needed process of change – bringing the attention of the public and scientific community to the issue of few women receiving the recognition they’ve earned – and an opportunity to shine a light on women leaders of today and tomorrow.”

“The University is focused on diversity in leadership positions, because it deepens and strengthens our scholarship and it has a truly positive impact on our communities,” says Dr. David Farrar, UBC Advisor to the President. “The work of Dr. Judy Illes at UBC’s National Core for Neuroethics is critical to building a future for science and research that involves everyone.”

Dr. Illes, who recently became the third president of the International Neuroethics Society, is widely lauded as an author, lecturer, and mentor whose research focuses on a wide range of ethical, social, legal, and policy challenges at the intersection of the neurosciences and biomedical ethics.

“Diversity is the engine of invention,” Dr. Illes says. “It’s important to talk about diversity now, so that we can move into our brighter future with the better opportunities diversity will provide.”

For more information about WISE, including a list of speakers and their bios, or to order your free tickets, visit 100.ubc.ca/events/100-years-wise.

The UBC centennial sessions are a series of events and lectures covering various topics from economics to the arts, climate change to global health, all to celebrate UBC’s remarkable achievements over the past 100 years.