Last week the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) celebrated 25 years of advocacy for women in the workforce at a Forum addressing gender imbalance in the engineering profession. Three of the OCC’s members – CN, Vale, and GE – participated as panellists at the event, which was organized by OSPE’s Women in Engineering Advisory Committee.
All panellists stressed that industry needs to market to and recruit more women engineers, foster working conditions that offer an attractive work/life balance, establish mentorship opportunities, and provide strong outreach to junior and senior high schools to encourage women to think of engineering as a career.
Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Kathleen Wynne, delivered a keynote address. The Minister emphasized the importance of developing networks, going beyond one’s comfort zone, and establishing goals early in one’s career in order to succeed.
As the Conference Board of Canada has indicated, penetrating the glass ceiling is key to Canada’s economic competitiveness. Companies that fail to integrate women’s perspectives into high-level decision making risk losing market share, competitive advantage, and profit. With an increase in female representation, on the other hand, comes an increase in employee skill levels, engagement, and productivity.
Please visit the OSPE website to learn more about the Women in Engineering Advisory Committee.