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Gender Equality Mainstreaming Digest – March 2019 Issue

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

Snow on branches. Photo courtesy of D. Ceplis.


Opportunities and Upcoming Events:

Society for Canadian Women in Science & Technology – Various events are planned around the country in March, including the following.

Sat. March 2 2019. Vancouver
First annual UBC Women and STEM Conference themes are: stigma and bias women face when pursuing careers in STEM, how the gender gap in STEM can be addressed, and how women in the past and present make a positive impact on the world through STEM.

International Women’s Day 2019: Creating Gender Balance in the Biological Sciences, March 7th 2019 4:30 – 8:00 PM, JLABS @ Toronto | 661 University Ave, Suite 1300, Toronto, ON
Two engaging panel discussions focusing on the representation of women in research and healthcare entrepreneurship. We will discuss the challenges that women in these positions face and speak to some systemic actions we can all take in order to increase the amount of women in leadership positions within biological sciences.

Tue,12 March 2019 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT, Leacock Building, Room 232, 855 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, QC
McGill Students Chapter for Scientists, in collaboration with McGill Women in Leadership Students’ Association, is hosting the 3rd annual Women in STEM Panel + Roundtable event with women from various STEM disciplines including biology, engineering, medicine, and education.

African and Canadian Women in STEM – Challenges and Opportunities
Mon, 25 March 2019 | 1:30 PM – 7:00 PM EDT, The Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, 199 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON

African and Canadian Women in STEM – Challenges and Opportunities

A Day to Share, Learn and Celebrate Accomplishments showcasing African women scientists based in Africa and Canada while providing a platform for these women scientists to share and exchange knowledge and ideas on how to enhance the participation of women in STEM and help us to celebrate the successes registered on the African continent. The output will be the establishment of networks and collaboration between African and Canadian Women Scientists.

U of Guelph’s Arrell Graduate Scholarships – Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph is seeking emerging scholars who are not only academically outstanding but also passionately committed to ensuring that future generations are well fed, that diets are nutritious and equitable, and that agriculture is sustainable.

Arrell Scholarships are valued at $50,000 per year to support research focused on agriculture and food.
Two deadlines:
• Deadline to submit a completed application for admission to a University of Guelph graduate program is February 22, 2019
• Deadline to submit all completed components of the scholarship application is March 1, 2019

This Month’s News:

Manitoba Women in Agriculture & Food (MWAF) – This is a series of postings devoted to people and organizations that are actively working to advance women in ag. Meet Candace Hill, Manager, Brand Planning and Execution at Farm Credit Canada

6. Why are you involved with gender issues in ag?
I feel I have a responsibility to understand the issues, participate in the conversation, stay curious, be more aware of my biases, and be part of the solution. Inclusivity and diversity are important topics. There are so many opportunities for people within the agriculture industry to participate.

7. Please comment on what’s been going on with women in ag up to now? What’s going on now? What do you see happening in the future?
Through my recent special project work at FCC, I was able to deepen my awareness, perspective and learn. I’ve learnt that we have work to do, barriers exist, and know that there are many groups, organizations, and individuals doing really great things to connect, empower and inspire women in agriculture. It’s encouraging to see. There is a need for access and connections to people, resources, capital, and training to help women in agriculture grow themselves and their business. I feel there is a lack of awareness of what types of support exist today and how to access it. This represents an opportunity to collaborate across the industry and outside of it, to make it easier for people to connect and access the information and tools they desire.

11. What do you think is necessary to engage industry in gender conversations and make progress for the women’s file in Canada?
I feel it is important for everyone to find a way to be part of the conversation, be open to working together, be aware of biases, and commit to understanding opportunities and challenges that exist. When we have a deeper understanding, stay curious, keep and open mind, and work together to be part of solution I believe it will create change at a faster pace. I see many groups doing great things. I feel that when we collaborate, we can build more momentum in support of a diverse and inclusive industry where everyone thrives.

Celebrating Women in Science: Eight Women Breaking Ground in Agriculture – The United Nations marked February 11th as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science—an opportunity to celebrate women and girls in their pursuit of a discipline long dominated by men.

While a growing number of women enroll in universities every year, women currently only make up 30 percent of the world’s researchers. At the doctoral level, the number of female graduates drops significantly.

However, despite the statistics, countless women are breaking new ground in the sciences. In the field of integrated pest management (IPM), women are thriving on the farm, in the lab, and elsewhere, using sustainable technologies against some of the world’s greatest crop threats.

For this year’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, eight women who collaborate with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Integrated Pest Management reflect on their own contributions to food security and the vital role women play in science around the world.
1. Mafruha Afroz is a senior scientific officer in plant pathology at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute.
2. Maria Elisa Christie is Director of Women and Gender in International Development at Virginia Tech’s Center for International Research, Education, and Development.
3. Bimala Rai Colavito is a photographer, videographer, and communications volunteer for iDE in Nepal.
4. Seerjana Maharjan is a doctoral student at Tribhuvan Univeristy in Nepal.
5. Jesca Mbaka is a senior research scientist and Center Director at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization.
6. Anju Poudel is a doctoral student at Tribhuvan University in Nepal.
7. Mossammat Shamsunnahar is a principal scientific officer in plant pathology at the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Center.
8. Kim Hian Seng is a project coordinator for iDE in Cambodia.

Why Diversity is Crucial to Success in STEM – Diversity has become a buzz word; there are diversity councils, diversity festivals and job titles that have the word diversity in them. Everyone is talking about diversity, but does it really matter – or is it just hype? Does diversity matter when we talk about STEM? The truth is that not only does diversity matter, without it, STEM would quickly stagnate.

When we talk about diversity, we typically talk about diversity of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, nationality etc., but we must not forget to also include neurodiversity. We not only look and act differently, we also think differently.

Rather than focusing on specific attributes, building a diverse team starts with providing an inclusive environment. Inclusion allows us to bring together different people with different strengths and different weaknesses; people that complement each other and make a stronger team. We need diversity; diversity drives innovation, and diversity is key to our growth as individuals and as organizations. STEM is no exception.

Reports Publications and Resources:

Are gender gaps due to evaluations of the applicant or the science? A natural experiment Summary

Background Across countries and disciplines, studies show male researchers receive more research funding than their female peers. Because most studies have been observational, it is unclear whether imbalances stem from evaluations of female research investigators or of their proposed research. In 2014, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research created a natural experiment by dividing investigator-initiated funding applications into two new grant programmes: one with and one without an explicit review focus on the calibre of the principal investigator.

Methods We analysed application success among 23 918 grant applications from 7093 principal investigators in all investigator-initiated Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant programmes between 2011 and 2016. We used generalised estimating equations to account for multiple applications by the same applicant and compared differences in application success between male and female principal investigators under different review criteria.

Findings Overall application success across competitions was 15·8%. After adjusting for age and research domain, the predicted probability of success in traditional programmes was 0·9 percentage points lower for female applicants than male applicants (95% CI 2·0 lower–0·2 higher; odds ratio 0·934, 95% CI 0·854–1·022). In the new programme, in which review focused on the proposed science, the gap remained 0·9 percentage points (3·2 lower–1·4 higher; 0·998, 0·794–1·229). In the new programme with an explicit review focus on the calibre of the principal investigator, the gap was 4·0 percentage points (6·7 lower–1·3 lower; 0·705, 0·519–0·960).

Interpretation Gender gaps in grant funding are attributable to less favourable assessments of women as principal investigators, not of the quality of their proposed research. We discuss reasons less favourable assessments might occur and strategies to foster fair and rigorous peer review.

Report on Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective – Renewable energy employs about 32% women, compared to 22% in the energy sector overall. Still, within renewables, women’s participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs is far lower than in administrative jobs.

This report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) examines the question of gender equity throughout sector. Building on a ground-breaking survey of employees, companies and institutions, it finds that much remains to be done to boost women’s participation and allow their talents to be fully utilised.

IRENA estimates that the number of jobs in renewables could increase from 10.3 million in 2017 to nearly 29 million in 2050. The ongoing global energy transition offers the chance to create new jobs and reshape all aspects of how energy is produced and distributed.

Renewables offer diverse opportunities along the value chain, requiring different skill sets. But these opportunities should be equally accessible, and the benefits equitably distributed, the report notes.

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