Women currently account for only 13.1 per cent of engineers in Canada. With International Women in Engineering Day coming up on June 23rd, 2019, we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and how far we have yet to go as an industry.
Prism Electrical Designer Alison Bodine shares a few thoughts on being a woman in the engineering field in this short video clip.
How are we supporting women in engineering at Prism? There is more to be done and we are determined to be better.
Prism President Robert Greenwald shared these reflections:
Probably the most important part of our culture is how we treat all people with respect, regardless of our differences, including gender. We don’t differentiate between the work of a female or male engineer nor do we treat our co-op students, young Engineers in Training, or Professional Engineers differently based on gender. This applies to wages, responsibilities and opportunities. We do work with our staff with young families on how we can adapt their work life with a young family, and that typically does apply more to our female staff. We are also nurturing a “culture of care” where employees can feel comfortable bringing up issues or concerns.
We provide time at work for staff to volunteer at events that encourage girls and women to consider careers in STEM. It’s important that we do this throughout the year and not just during days or month to encourage Women in Engineering. Last year, we participated in “diversity circles” relating to the 30 by 30 initiative, a target by Engineers Canada to increase the ratio of newly licensed engineers who are women to 30% by 2030 (BC is at 15.2% now, Canada at 17.9%). According to Engineers Canada, “”thirty percent is universally held as the tipping point for sustainable change””. This diversity circle was focused on how educational institutions can support the initiative.
More recently, Prism signed up as one of 49 sponsors and members for 49Women in Science Circle, an initiative by Langara College designed to encourage and celebrate women in STEM. This will provide an opportunity for one of our women engineers to be part of a community of 48 other technical women. I expect that our whole company can benefit from these experiences.
In addition to women in STEM, we need to encourage women in leadership positions in our industry. At Prism, our leadership team is richer due to the participation of women. Various project lead and key client relationship positions are led by women and we are encouraging more women to get involved in leading service areas as we grow.
International Women in Engineering Day is an annual festival developed and coordinated by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) to celebrate the achievements of women in engineering and inspire younger generations. Established in 2014 as a UK-wide event, INWED went global in 2017 with international support.
Find resources for organizing an event via www.inwed.org.uk/resources.html