INWES, the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists, is a world-wide network of women’s organization in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), representing over 200,000 women from about 45 countries. INWES is an official NGO partner of the operational type with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 2008 and of the consultative type with the United Nations, the Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) since 2017. The partnership of INWES with international organizations involves a dynamic cooperation to help women and girls worldwide to have access to education, especially in Science and Engineering.

The creation of INWES was initiated at the World Conference on Science for the 21st Century, convened by UNESCO and the International Council for Science in Budapest, where Article 90 was adopted encouraging efforts for the establishment of an international network of women scientists and engineers. A group of 20 women representing 10 countries and 8 organizations met in Canada, May 2001, to explore the creation of such a network. At ICWES12 in 2002, a unanimous vote gave rise to the creation of INWES. In April 2003, INWES was incorporated as a non-profit corporation under the laws of Canada, and in July 2005, the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea during ICWES13.

In 2008 at ICWES14, a need for a regional network was proposed at the board meeting. A workshop to initiate the Asian network was held in 2009 in Busan, Korea during the INWES regional conference. After three years, at ICWES15 in 2011, the Asia and Pacific Nation Network (APNN) successfully held its first general meeting in Adelaide, Australia. The African members also took effort in organizing a regional network and finally in 2014, the African Regional Network (ARN) had been launched at ICWES16 in 2014. Besides, The INWES Europe Regional network had its inaugural meeting in Switzerland on 18 September 2015 and became the third regional network of INWES 20 October 2015 during the meeting in Uganda. The constitutional meeting has been held in 2016 INWES regional conference in Freising, Germany.

The objectives of INWES are: to become an influential voice on STEM issues for the benefit of women, gender equity and society; to increase the presence of women in mainstream STEM decision-making bodies; to promote exchange of information, networking, advocacy and a wide range of global and regional projects; to expand the opportunities for education and activities in STEM through the INWES.

INWES is a not-for-profit corporation governed by a board of directors consisting of elected directors who represent organizations, corporations, university/institute, or individual memberships. The structure of INWES is shown in the following Figure.

Ref.: Kong-joo Lee, INWES Triennial Report (2014-2017),May 13, 2018.