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Gender Equality Mainstreaming Digest – October 2019 Issue

Here are the highlights of this month’s Gender Equality Mainstreaming Digest! Click HERE for the full version.

Native Highbush Cranberry [Vaccinium trilobum]. Photo courtesy of D. Ceplis


Opportunities and Upcoming Events:

New online discussion: Mainstreaming gender for sustainable soil management -Soils are the foundation of agriculture and sustainable soil management contributes to increasing food production, enhancing the nutrient content of food, and adapting to and mitigating climate change. However, women are often precluded from participating fully in soil management by limited land rights and roles in decision making, among others.

This online discussion aims at collecting the views from a wide range of stakeholders about the relations between gender equality, sustainable soil management and food security. The feedback gathered from this consultation will inform and provide inputs to draft the ‘Guide on gender and sustainable soil management’, to be prepared by the Regional Soil Partnerships, the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils (ITPS) together with the Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division of FAO, with inputs from gender and soil management specialists.

The objectives of this guide are to promote the adoption of a gender-responsive approach to support sustainable soil management. The target audience is composed of various stakeholders such as governmental institutions, non-governmental organizations engaged in gender, land and rural development issues, soil scientists/experts, land and soil professionals, women’s and farmers’ organizations, researchers and policymakers.

To help with this inclusive process, we invite you to share your experience, views and feedback by replying to the following questions:

  1. In your view, what is the relation between sustainable soil use, management and conservation (including soil fertility and health) and gender equality?
  2. What are the distinct roles for women, men, boys and girls in sustainable soil management?
  3. What are the main gender-based constraints, including unequal gender relations and discriminatory norms that hinder sustainable soil management and contribute to soil degradation? What practical solutions and approaches could help overcoming such barriers?
  4. How can the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment contribute to sustainable soil management and conservation? Which interventions at policy and project/field level are of utmost priority? What are some potential entry points for success?

The deadline is 14 October 2019.

All-Candidates Debate: Science & tech, science-based policy and gender equity – VANCOUVER ALL CANDIDATES DEBATE: Science & tech, science-based policy and gender equity

Thu, 10 Oct 2019 | 6:00- 9:00 PM PDT at UBC Robson Theatre, 800 Robson St., Vancouver

Where do federal parties stand on issues related to the intersection of women, science and technology, and policy? The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST) and community partners: Vote Science, IEEE- Women in Science Vancouver are sponsoring this event.

Join us at this non-partisan event to learn about party policies for science, science-based policy, gender equity and unique British Columbia issues! Be able to make an informed decision that best aligns with your interests on voting day.

Learn how and when to vote, including how your vote is tallied to pick your member of Parliament and how the prime minister is appointed. We will host a candidate from each political party running in British Columbia, including a Liberal, New Democrat, Conservative, People’s Party of Canada, Green, other parties, and Independents.

Survey to Gather Information on Equality in Agriculture – Alltech, in partnership with AgriBriefing, has launched a global survey to gather information about gender equality within agriculture. The survey is open to women and men across all sectors of the agri-food industry.

Inclusion and diversity are essential to a sustainable workforce, and to make progress, we must first understand the current profession landscape for women in the agri-food industry. We are proud to partner with Alltech, a global company that works alongside farmers and producers to support a Planet of Plenty™, to present an industry-wide survey to gather real-world insights.

This survey and the results will remain fully anonymous (no organisations or individuals will be identified). It will close Monday, 14th October and results will be published in an industry-wide report launched at the Women in Food & Agriculture Summit on the 3rd December, Amsterdam.

This Month’s News:

UBC president Santa Ono decries lack of recognition of women, urges influential men to promote gender equality – The head of Canada’s fourth-largest university has had enough of men taking home most of the prestigious prizes in the world. In a TEDxUBC speech, which was recently posted on YouTube, UBC president Santa Ono went into great detail about how women have been shortchanged in many areas. He noted that of the more than 900 Nobel Prizes awarded, only 50 have gone to women.

He suggested that men have to take the lead, giving women space in the workplace and providing mechanisms for them to re-enter after having children.

In addition, he said that men have to help at home. Then he suggested that men give more thought to mentorship schemes that provide the same opportunities to women as are going to men. Moreover, Ono argued that people need to become more aware of their biases, and attack them. He closed his speech by encouraging greater recognition for women. He’s promoting the use of the hashtag #NominateHer to try to level the playing field.

Sister pair empowered by family to be women in ag – Clare Martens, age 25, and sister Jill, age 22, farm alongside their dad and uncle near Boissevain, Manitoba. They have two sisters and no brothers. Clare and Jill are the fourth generation of their family to farm in Canada. Jill started working full time on the farm in 2016. She has her Class 1 licence, so she does a lot of hauling for the farm. She’s also an artificial insemination technician. Clare came back to the farm about a year ago after graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.

Jill and Clare said they also were shaped by travelling and seeing women farming in other parts of the world. Jill travelled to Rwanda with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Her family is part of a Boissevain-Morton-Whitewater project which plants 300 acres of crops each year to fundraise for the Foodgrains Bank. The trip allowed Jill to see where their donations were going, and to learn about conservation agriculture and food security. Clare travelled with a friend to Guatemala and saw women farming there, often without the same autonomy and freedom she enjoys.

From convincing teachers that agriculture was a real career to international honours – Dr. Cynthia Grant became a research scientist, just as she dreamed about while growing up on a farm near Minnedosa, but along the way she was also a pioneer.

Her soil and agronomy research at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Brandon Research Centre has been recognized with numerous Canadian and international awards and honours. The most recent was being selected to join the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame — only the 10th woman named to the hall since it was created in 1960. The induction ceremony is Nov. 28 at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City.

One of those prestigious international awards came in January when Grant received the Leo Walsh Soil Fertility Distinguished Lectureship, which she delivered at the Soil Science Society of America’s annual meeting in Santiago, Calif. Much to Grant’s surprise she was the first woman to receive the honour.

Grant got an even bigger shock a few years ago, when she found out she was the first woman to earn a doctorate in soil science at the University of Manitoba, in 1986.

Reports Publications and Resources:

Gender and language use in scientific grant writing


Women in science, technology, engineering, and math are not equally represented across tenure-track career stages, and this extends to grant funding, where women applicants often have lower success rates compared with men. While gender bias in reviewers has been documented, it is currently unknown whether written language in grant applications varies predictably with gender to elicit bias against women. Here we analyse the text of ∼2000 public research summaries from the 2016 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) individual Discovery Grant (DG) program. We explore the relationship between language variables, inferred gender and career stage, and funding levels. We also analyse aggregated data from the 2012–2018 NSERC DG competitions to determine whether gender impacted the probability of receiving a grant for early-career researchers. We document a marginally significant gender difference in funding levels for successful grants, with women receiving $1756 less than men, and a large and significant difference in rejection rates among early-career applicants (women: 40.4% rejection; men: 33.0% rejection rate). Language variables had little ability to predict gender or funding level using predictive modelling. Our results indicate that NSERC funding levels and success rates differ between men and women, but we find no evidence that gendered language use affected funding outcomes.

CBC Radio’s Women in science special — How science has done women wrong – Listen to the full 54-minute episode. It’s 2019 and women are still significantly underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Women hold about one-third of the academic positions in science, though that number is much lower in fields like math and engineering. In all, women are fewer than a quarter of the science and technology workers in Canada.

Greta Thunberg’s full speech to world leaders at UN Climate Action Summit – Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg chastised world leaders Monday, Sep. 23, for failing younger generations by not taking sufficient steps to stop climate change. “You have stolen my childhood and my dreams with your empty words,” Thunberg said at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York. “You’re failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you,” she added. Thunberg traveled to the U.S. by sailboat last month so she could appear at the summit. She and other youth activists led international climate strikes on Friday in an attempt to garner awareness ahead of the UN’s meeting of political and business leaders.

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