International Women's Day

Collage of alumni

The University of Waterloo is proud to celebrate the contributions and achievements of women in our university community on International Women’s Day and throughout the year.


Person wearing a lab coat in a lab

These seven Waterloo alumni are making history for women in STEM

In honour of Women’s History Month in Canada, we are shedding light on a few alumni who are making outstanding contributions to the fields of STEM. 

Anita Layton

A role model for math — and life

Layton, a leader in a field attracting the brightest mathematicians and clinicians in the world, is using math models — much like scientists have used microscopes for hundreds of years — to reveal otherwise invisible processes in the body. 

Dr. Atefeh Zarabadi

Building a portable brain scanner

Dr. Atefeh Zarabadi co-founded AiimSense to help first responders and doctors diagnose strokes more quickly.


Nada Basir

How do we support talent when life happens?

Basir and her colleague, Serena Sohrab, launched the Infertility and Work Lab to understand how infertility affects work and to better inform women, government policy and organizational practices.

Rachel Bartholomew

Cancer survivor builds startup for pelvic health and better sex

When she was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019, Bartholomew learned the surgery and radiation would affect her pelvic health for the rest of her life. While on bedrest, she began researching rehabilitation options and discovered women were still using devices known as dilators, which were invented in 1938.

Collage of award recipients

UWaterloo community members on list of Canada’s most powerful women

Eleven leaders in education, business and community who have ties to the University of Waterloo are named among the 100 most powerful women in Canada.


Two engineering students wearing safety goggles

Advocating for diversity and inclusion in engineering

The 1989 targeted massacre of 14 women at École Polytechnique in Montreal was the deciding factor for Kim Jones (BASc '95, chemical engineering) choosing to study engineering rather than science for her undergraduate degree.

Nancy Barber

Breaking the glass ceiling in aviation

Nancy Barber had no idea she would be breaking glass ceilings when she enrolled in the Recreation and Leisure Studies program at the University of Waterloo in 1994.

Roz Gunn

Embracing my career as a feminist advocate

Once denied, now embraced: Roz Gunn (BA '11) talks about her passion and committment to working with a feminist organization.



Nel Wieman Uncharted Podcast

Professional moves and personal revelations

Nel Wieman (BSc '88, MSc '91) explains how her career journey — from kinesiology student to psychiatrist and public health leader — brought her personal fulfillment and self-discovery. 

Brigette Lau Uncharted Podcast

The future of work is human

Brigette Lau (BASc '99) created Firework Ventures because we all deserve a fulfilling career and life — and she believes that tech can help.

Swati Matta Uncharted Podcast

Supporting today's parents

After years of work in the health tech world, and an MBA, Swati Matta (BCS '10) was ready to take the leap and start her own company: a platform for new and expectant parents.


Communities and resources for women at Waterloo

Alumni and students can access a range of resources that support gender equity.

Community events

The University of Waterloo is proud to support a series of International Women’s Day events hosted by Women in Communications and Technology Waterloo Region. Learn from dozens of accomplished guest speakers including Waterloo alumni and faculty.

Discover and register for the events

Student groups

Many different student groups at Waterloo support gender equity, and often connect students with alumni and industry leaders. Here are a few examples:

Women in Science Society

Student awards

Waterloo offers a range of financial awards for women who are underrepresented in their fields. Many of these awards are funded by generous donors who support gender equity and inclusion.

Explore entrance awards 

Explore undergraduate awards 

Explore graduate student awards 

Funds to support

There are many University of Waterloo funds that provide financial support for women. Donors created some of these funds, and we’re truly grateful for their generosity!

We invite you to consider a gift to one of the following donor-supported funds:

Women's Sport Initiative Fund

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

Women in Pharmacy Leadership Fund

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

Women in STEM Outreach Program

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


Waterloo Women's Impact Network Diversity & Inclusion Fund (Math)

Focuses on early outreach, student supports and investments in unique ideas to build a stronger community for women and underrepresented genders in the Faculty of Mathematics. 

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.

UW Alumni Women in Technology Entrance Award

Supports outstanding women undergraduate students enrolling in Year One of an Engineering or Computer Science degree program in which women are underrepresented.