SCWIST Advances Gender Equality As Part Of National Call To Action

Advancing gender equality in Canada will require collective action on four priorities identified by the Gender Equality Network Canada (GENC). Three SCWIST representatives – Christin Wiedemann, Fariba Pacheleh and Anja Lanz – were part of a network of 150 GENC leaders who developed recommendations essential to gender equality in four priority areas: Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence; Decolonization and Reconciliation; Accessibility, Equity, Equality, and Inclusion; and Economic Security and Prosperity.

Key recommendations include a national childcare strategy, pay equity, and sustainable, long-term core funding for women’s organizations and gender equality organizations across Canada. Winding up after three years of work, the GENC was funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE)  and convened by the Canadian Women’s Foundation.  

GENC leaders collaborated online and in-person at national meetings in Toronto, Halifax, Vancouver, Saskatoon, and Montreal since 2017 – as showcased in this video.  SCWIST GENC leaders were actively involved in working groups – focused on women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), trades, and leadership. They contributed their experience and insights, and took on leadership roles to develop and present recommendations at GENC meetings.

“Canada has enormous potential for diversity and inclusion to drive innovation, foster problem-solving and increase profit!”

Fariba Pacheleh, Tech Industry Leader

“Establishing mandatory targets of 40:40:20 gender representation (40% men, 40% women, 20% either or other) in leadership roles and boardrooms will change the trajectory, resolve unconscious biases and drive progress through reinforcement and measurement,” declares Fariba. “This will empower more women to reach the highest ranks, inspire the next generation and make gender disparity a history lesson.”

“Being trained as a scientist, I believe in evidence, and the data clearly show that there is a gender pay gap.”

Christin Wiedemann, SCWIST Past President

“The lack of pay equity in Canada and globally is a real issue, it is a relevant issue, it is an urgent issue, but it is not a women’s issue,” states Christin. “The GENC report recognizes this and other existing systemic issues, makes well-founded asks and recommends feasible actions to address the gender pay gap, while taking the onus of enacting change away from women.”

As an engineer, I have experienced gender bias in recruiting and hiring practices in STEM, and my experiences are not unique!

Anja Lanz, Design Engineer

Through mentoring interactions with a large, diverse pool of women in STEM, I know that these barriers are very real for many women,” Anja explains. “The GENC report includes specific recommendations to force policy makers and companies to address these systemic issues, and to remove obstacles to employment and career advancement for women.”

Along with advocating to implement GENC recommendations, SCWIST removes barriers for women through Make DIVERSITY Possible – working with STEM organizations to attract diverse talent and create inclusive workplace cultures where everyone can thrive and prosper. For more information, please contact SCWIST Project Manager Cheryl Kristiansen at [email protected].

The GENC report has been delivered to WAGE along with a request for broad public consultations to ensure full representation and input across Canada. The GENC work is particularly relevant and even more urgent now, as the COVID-19 pandemic is amplifying gender disparity in Canada and globally.

For more information on SCWIST and its programs to advance women and girls in STEM, please explore our website or contact [email protected].