SCWIST Fuels Canada’s Feminist Recovery: STEM Forward for Economic Prosperity

The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) is proud to announce funding support from Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) to fuel Canada’s feminist recovery with its project to propel ‘STEM Forward for Economic Prosperity’. We are thrilled to be one of 237 projects across Canada to be supported by the $100 million Feminist Response Recovery Fund.

For 40 years, SCWIST has been at the forefront of gender equality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). COVID-19 has widened the systemic cracks – women’s inequities are magnified. SCWIST’s project focuses on job access, hiring practices, pay equity, flexible work, parental leave and workplace culture. These levers will advance policy to fuel an economic recovery that is equitable for Canadians with all dimensions of diversity. Canada’s economic prosperity is driven by STEM innovation – by applying diverse, STEM-trained brains we can solve the complex problems of today and the future.

“To accelerate systemic change, we have to remove the barriers to gender equality that prevent access for women and other underrepresented groups to well-paying STEM jobs.” Dr. Khristine Carino, SCWIST President, an immigrant to Canada and champion of moms returning to work, explains. “Economic prosperity and security go hand-in-hand with organizational policies and processes to ensure equitable workplace cultures for diverse women. We will examine gender pay gaps to create processes and incentives to reduce those gaps, including a focus on accountability and transparency metrics for STEM participation and pay equity. Since parental leave and flexible work policies also factor into the pay gap, these will be addressed systematically to increase retention, productivity and satisfaction.”

This collaborative project will also address harmful gender norms and attitudes by engaging men to be mentors and allies in the workplace. Advancing more women into leadership roles will increase women’s authority, voice and decision-making power. Organizations with robust equity processes will be highlighted and encouraged to mentor other organizations to build capacity and collective impact.

SCWIST Vice-President Ronel Alberts, a Tech specialist and proud member of the 2SLGBTQA+ community, adds, “a feminist recovery must fill the STEM pipeline using an intersectional lens and harmonized approach to address systemic barriers to equity. With unified voices, shared resources and the leverage of our partners, public policy can be shifted to normalize the equitable practices we have developed and tested at the organization level. A true feminist response to the outdated systems brought to light by COVID-19 will ensure that girls and women from all backgrounds have opportunities for prosperity and security in STEM sectors to contribute to Canada’s prosperity.”

For more information: Government of Canada announces recipients of $100-million Feminist Response and Recovery Fund (from Women and Gender Equality Canada).

More about SCWIST: SCWIST was founded in 1981 as a national charitable organization to advance women and girls in STEM. Today, we exist to create an environment where women, girls and underserved populations in Canada can pursue their interest, education, and careers in STEM without barriers.  Our values drive our mission to promote participation and advancement through education, networking, mentorship, collaborative partnerships and advocacy.

The STEM Forward for Canada’s Feminist Recovery project builds on the accomplishments of other SCWIST projects supported by WAGE in the past decade, including the Make Possible mentoring network, Make DIVERSITY Possible and SCALE to build capacity, reach, partnerships and advocacy impact.