Submitted by: Dena McMartin
Professor, Environmental Systems Engineering
At spring convocation this year, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science celebrated the degree completion of 115 students, 19 per cent of whom were female. At 19 per cent, the U of R sits slightly above the national average. According to Engineers Canada, “Female enrollment in undergraduate engineering programs reached a peak of 20.6 per cent of total enrollment in 2001 and has fluctuated between 17 and 18 per cent for the greater part of the decade.
Engineering is not the only discipline and Canada is not the only country in which women are not fully or equally engaged alongside male counterparts. Across the globe, women can be marginalized and excluded from participating in society, politics, and a variety of careers. One event held in Moscow, Russia this past June attempts to identify innovative ideas and solutions to improving women’s engagement in all facets of life.
The G(irls)20 Summit brought together one delegate from each G20 country, plus a representative from the European Union and African Union to discuss best practices “…to improve the growth of communities, countries and companies by empowering girls and women globally and present these ideas to G20 Leaders”. Those young women learned, debated, exchanged ideas and became empowered. It doesn’t take a global event, though. Each day we can support young women and girls to feel valued, listened to, and impassioned by whatever they choose to do.