GENDER EQUALITY WEEK
Maven spoke with young women in post secondary education in celebration of Gender Equality week.
University of Manitoba
B. Sc. Bachelor of Computer Science, Honours (Co-op)
Dream Job: CEO of a Supporting Women in Computer Science Advocacy Group
By her third year in Computer Science, Katharine felt very isolated. She noticed the classes were predominantly male and that the women in her classes weren’t asking very many questions. Katharine decided she wanted to make a difference and create a support system for women in her university before she graduated.
So, with the support of a professor, she started the U of M Women in Computer Science group (WICS). It officially launched in March 2017 and gained a steady following by that fall. Initially, WICS consisted of only a few women from her classes, but Katharine and her female classmates soon realized the need for male allies in their group to truly implement change and increase diversity. WICS now consists of students of all genders within Computer Science.
WICS meets once every two weeks and hosts tons of exciting events. You can find more information about the group on their website.
Megan grew up watching her mom work as an engineer and thought she was a genius. But it was a high-school course that sparked her own personal interest in the industry. Megan always loved space, the environment and wildlife and sees engineering as an opportunity to solve real-life problems.
Megan finds the lack of women in her class noticeable but appreciates opportunities to make connections with people at school through activities like dodge ball.
If you are looking for ways to teach STEM to young girls, Megan suggests activity kits. She also likes to talk to her nice about science while they play outside together.
University of Manitoba
1st year Engineering and plans on studying Civil Engineering
Robyn aspires to redo Winnipeg’s sewer system. She grew up downstream from the city of Winnipeg, which at times released raw sewage into the river flowing near her home.
Entering U of M’s Engineering program is a big step, although it can be overwhelming. Robyn says she notices the “all white male” grad photos when she walks through the school, and the disproportionate ratios of women to men in her classes.
If she ever needs a boost of inspiration, Robyn can look at her own mom. She grew up watching her mom persevere in a high-power managerial position at their small-town steel mill. When asked to describe her mom, Robyn says “she’s powerful.”
Growing up Kiera said she wanted to be a doctor or vet. She notes that many young girls aspire for these careers because they are the most familiar occupations. Kiera says that telling girls about all the job opportunities in STEM is a great way to engage them.
Becoming a professor is something Kiera aspires to become with her education. Research is something she is also passionate about, so she started working at a research centre last summer.
When asked what the main driver behind a career in stem for her is – Kiera said passion. She also likes the variety of jobs and opportunities that comes with a STEM education and sees job security as a big incentive.
MEMBERS THOUGHTS ON GENDER EQUALITY
ICTAM spoke with a few of its members to find out what gender equality means to their businesses.
“It's crucial that the STEM industry not only hire more women and give them a real opportunity to succeed, but to foster a culture that is open and welcoming for all. Women are under-represented in this sector, from entry-level positions to the C-suite. We can't sit back and let those figures change organically- we need to make a change today, to show women STEM is a career where they can flourish.”
"Hiring numbers, leadership ratios, and salary gaps are great leading indicators, but what Gender Parity is really looking to change is culture. Perception. Access. Let’s break down the subtle bias that prevents women from succeeding in the workforce. From mommy tracking, to communication styles, to physical harm. It’s no longer about changing women to be more like men. It’s about understanding that the way we’ve always done things was created by and for a narrow demographic and it’s preventing other people from being successful. It’s about recognizing the ways we play a part in the system and doing something better."
UX Team Lead
“As technology has advanced the world has become smaller; however, this means that we are also interacting and collaborating with more diversity than ever before. Meeting global demands and being successful is dependent on many things including a need for inclusivity for both men and women alike.”
Manager, Career Services