Our commitment

University of Waterloo’s overall approach

HeForShe logoAs change leaders in gender equity — especially as a leading STEM-focused university — we aim to advance excellence at all levels of our institution while serving as a galvanizing force for social change at universities across Canada.

The University of Waterloo's Impact 10x10x10 approach addresses the full pipeline of STEM talent; the current low representation of women in senior roles is directly tied to their representation at earlier stages of their academic career. The striking similarity in the share of women at different stages of the pipeline emphasizes this point—University of Waterloo’s technology-focused summer camps are 20 per cent female, the undergraduate engineering population is 21 per cent female, and the graduate engineering population is 22 per cent female (2014 figures).

Targeted efforts to attract more young girls into STEM now will have long term benefits by increasing the share of women pursuing degrees and thus available to take on tenure-track faculty positions in traditionally male dominated disciplines.

Target: 33% female enrolment in STEM outreach programs
Target:30%female faculty by 2020
Target:29%female participation in academic and senior leadership


Commitment 1: Boost girls participation in STEM outreach experiences to build future female leaders

A young girl works on a science experiment at a science outreach eventTo reach gender parity in STEM, we need to engage women and girls as young students. The University of Waterloo will build upon its existing expertise, scaling targeted outreach programming for young girls and women to build the pipeline for future success.

Focusing on the most gender-disparate STEM experiences, the University commits to boost female enrollment in these programs to 33 per cent by 2020 by expanding the scope of current programs and developing a number of targeted new initiatives.


Commitment 2: Enhance female faculty representation to drive towards parity in the future

A gender-equal faculty is key to attracting and supporting the female leaders of tomorrow. To kick-start change, the University of Waterloo commits to reach a faculty composition of 30 per cent women by 2020.

The University of Waterloo will champion three initiatives to increase the representation of women:

  • a comprehensive review of hiring practices,
  • unconscious bias training, and
  • the creation of career opportunities for high-potential women.

Commitment 3: Advance women into positions that lead the university

Today, 24.5 per cent of senior academic and administrative leaders are female. The journey from entry-level faculty to senior leadership takes over a decade. Increasing the share of women in leadership positions will have a ripple effect on gender parity at lower levels; as women see women in these roles, they feel empowered to take on these positions.

Through these commitments, and a suite of programs to target high potential women, the University of Waterloo commits to reach 29 per cent representation of women in academic and senior leadership.


The University of Waterloo's commitment to achieving comprehensive, long-term and sustainable gender equity reflected in the University’s strategic plan, A Distinguished Past; A Distinctive Future, which includes equity and diversity among its top goals, in the Promoting a Sound Value System strategic theme.