International Women's Day

international womens day

The University of Waterloo is proud to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in our global community. As we celebrate their impact on the University and the world, we continue to work together to ensure that everyone belongs at UWaterloo.

Meet your community


As executive director of Home Suite Hope, Sara Cumming (PhD 14) designs programs to help unhoused single mothers secure housing, jobs, childcare and more. These programs have had a lasting impact for single mothers and their children. In a current project, the Community Ideas Factory, Sara works with 16 local organizations to build a life-skills course that can be used and adopted by community organizations across Canada. In recognition of her work, Sara was awarded the Rising Star Alumni Award from the Faculty of Arts.

Learn more about her award


Brigette Lau (BASc 99) is the co-founder of venture capital firm Firework Ventures, but she didn't set out to become a startup investor. Her story begins as the daughter of hardworking immigrants who chose Waterloo's computer engineering programs because she knew it would get her a job. While working hard to build a career and life, she fell into many great opportunities that led to her current success. Firework Ventures is inspired by her journey, investing in companies that pave the way for a “uniquely human” future of work.

Listen to Brigette’s story


Nohemie Mawaka (BA ’13) forges global connections with honey in her latest venture, Lubembo. The company brings organic forest honey to North American markets and employs women in her father’s home community of Kinshasa in the Dominican Republic of Congo.

Overall, I want to offer organic goods that are overflowing in Congo. They have these products in abundance. And in the West, there’s purchasing power.”

Read Nohemie’s story 


Lisa Bentley (BMath92) is an 11-time IRONMAN champion and has represented Canada on multiple national teams. She also has cystic fibrosis, an often fatal genetic lung disease that she now considers a superpower. After retiring from sport, she employed that superpower in a new way: as an author and motivational speaker.

Cystic fibrosis connected me to others who needed hope, and that connection became fuel for my success.”

Listen to Lisa’s story


Seconds matter when it comes to strokes. Fast identification and early treatment of a stroke can mean the difference between a speedy recovery and a lasting brain injury or even death. Atefeh Zarabadi (PhD 15) co-founded AiimSense to give health care professionals a revolutionary tool for detecting strokes and other brain injuries — a portable brain scanner that could be used before a patient reaches the hospital.

Read Atefeh’s story


When Swati Matta (BCS 10) came to Waterloo to study bioinformatics, she knew that she wanted to work in health care. She also wanted to start a company someday. Born out of her expertise in digital health and her frustrating experience with pre-natal research, Koble is a comprehensive platform for new parents and birthing people, offering vital services and credible information.

Listen to Swati’s story

Events and celebrations

Livestream: International Women's Day at UWaterloo

International Women's Day 2024 Banner

March 8, 2024

Location: Virtual

For 2024, let’s Inspire Inclusion. To truly include women and those identifying in the LGBTQ2S community means to openly embrace diversity of race, age, ability, faith, body image and how they identify.

As we recognize International Women’s Day, join us as we livestream the University of Waterloo's community event.


2024 International Women's Day High Tea Social

IWD Event

March 8, 2024

Location: Virtual (Zoom)

Once again, the Faculty of Science is thrilled to present our annual High Tea Social celebrating International Women's Day.

Grab your favourite afternoon drink, cozy up in your comfiest chair and spend an hour with some truly inspirational women. Whether you'd like to just listen, or engage over text in the online chat forum, this virtual high tea social will be a lively commentary and round-table discussion.


Support women at UWaterloo

Feel inspired to give? Choose from one of the following funds designed to promote gender equity at Waterloo:

Two women playing basketball

Women's Sport Initiative Fund

Supports the hiring and development of women coaches, and increased Athletic Financial Award offerings to women student-athletes.

Three women examining plant samples in test tubes

Women in STEM Outreach Program

Creates opportunities for young women to fall in love with STEM through camps, workshops and other initiatives.

Three women and two men lying in a circle

Waterloo Women's Impact Network (WWIN) Diversity and Inclusion Fund

Aims to attract more young people to STEM, nurture the talents of current students and prepare alumni to thrive in their careers, all while connecting with like-minded peers. Learn more

Two women examining DNA structure model

Women in Pharmacy Leadership Fund

Provides leadership development opportunities (ie: workshops, networking and seminars) for alumni and students who identify as women.

Woman looking through telescope

Women in Physics & Astronomy Fund

Supports initiatives that will correct the gender imbalance and increase the recruitment, retention and overall support of women students in the Department of Physics Astronomy.