University of Waterloo at United Nations to reveal progress on gender parity

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

HeForShe logo

Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, was at the United Nations with nine other university presidents to unveil the first-ever HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report (PDF).

The report highlights the participating universities’ successes and ambitions for gender equity on their campuses.

“I am proud that Waterloo is taking the lead for Canada’s university sector in the global HeForShe effort,” said Hamdullahpur.  “We need to promote the message that women equally belong in and excel in STEM. We need to deliberately create clear paths for women to pursue studies in fields like computer science, engineering and math so we can overcome social barriers that have no place in an innovation university in the 21st century.”

In May 2015, the University of Waterloo made three commitments to address gender equity as part of the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative. Over the past 16 months, the University has taken a number of actions including the following highlights:

  • The University of Waterloo HeForShe IMPACT Scholarship, now in its second year, will award 24 outstanding female students a total of $288,000 over the five years as a part of ongoing efforts to achieve transformative and enduring gender equality
  • The appointment of six professors as Faculty advocates for HeForShe IMPACT initiatives
  • Established a research grant, providing $80,000 a year for the next five years to support research and scholarship focused on gender equity
  • Financial support for outreach to girls in middle school and for girls in indigenous populations
  • A review of all faculty hiring recruitment and selection processes to identify support required to enhance the representation of women in faculty
  • Established plans to host the first-annual graduate and post-doctoral conference for women in STEM from May 11 to 12, 2017 and a steering committee to build networking opportunities for new graduates
  • A writing contest where through poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, writers reflect on what a gender equitable campus would look like; selected submissions will be included in a special University of Waterloo anthology to be published on March 8, 2017 – International Women’s Day

Anya Forestell, a student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Waterloo's Faculty of Science, and one of the first recipients of a Waterloo HeForShe scholarship, will be speaking at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City the evening of September 20. Forestell will share her experience of being a woman in STEM at the second anniversary celebration of the UN Women’s HeForShe movement for gender equity.

The HeForShe 10 IMPACT universities span across eight countries on five continents:

Georgetown University, USA; Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), France; Nagoya University, Japan; Stony Brook University, USA; the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; the University of Leicester, UK; University of Oxford, UK; the University of São Paulo, Brazil; the University of Waterloo, Canada; and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

About the University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world. Find out more at uwaterloo.ca

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Media Contacts:

Carleen Carroll
519-888-4567 ext. 30537
www.uwaterloo.ca/news
@uWaterlooNews

Jennifer Ross
University of Waterloo
519-888-4567 ext. 30547
www.uwaterloo.ca/news
@uWaterlooNews

Media Backgrounder

IMPACT 10X10X10 UNIVERSITY PARITY REPORT LAUNCH SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

About HeForShe

  • HeForShe is a global effort to engage men and boys in removing the social and cultural barriers that prevent women and girls from achieving their potential, and together positively reshaping society. UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, created the initiative that was launched by UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in September 2014.
  • As part of this initiative, the HeForShe launched the IMPACT 10x10x10 framework that involves 10 heads of state, 10 CEOs, and 10 university presidents to advance gender equity.
  • The University of Waterloo has been invited to help lead HeForShe because of our demonstrated commitment to gender equity. Waterloo is the only Canadian institution involved in the IMPACT 10x10x10 framework.

Feridun Hamdullahpur and the University of Waterloo

  • In May 2015, Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, accepted an invitation from the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign for the University of Waterloo to participate in their IMPACT 10x10x10 framework alongside governments, leading universities and global businesses.
  • As the only Canadian participant, President Hamdullahpur acknowledges the issue of gender equity in universities and has made three bold gender equity commitments as part of HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative.
  • Boost female student participation in STEM outreach activities and experiences to build the pipeline of future female leaders in traditionally male-dominated disciplines
  • Enhance female faculty representation to improve the campus environment today and drive towards parity in the future
  • Attract and advance female leaders into senior academic and administrative university positions
  • The University’s IMPACT 10x10x10 approach is focused on long-term, comprehensive, sustainable gender equity. It starts with the pipeline of STEM talent and progresses through to the current low representation of women in senior roles.
  • 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).

University of Waterloo projects in support of the commitments

University of Waterloo HeForShe IMPACT Scholarship

  • The University of Waterloo is in its second year of providing six scholarships, valued at up to $12,000 each over five years, to outstanding female students admitted to Year One of an undergraduate science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) degree—program in which females are currently underrepresented.  Recipients will receive $1,500 per academic term for up to eight terms.  

    This year’s winners are:

Anjali Joshi, Guelph, Canada - Mechanical Engineering

Carmen Kwan, Scarborough, Canada - Software Engineering

Yue Ding, Nanjing, China - Computer Science

Ankita Mishra, Lucknow, India - Computer Science

Stephanie Swanson, Guelph, Canada - Physics

Emily Carlson, Vancouver, Canada - Mathematical Physics

IMPACT Girls Summer Camp

  • University of Waterloo hosted 11 young women, in grades six to eight, and five caregivers from indigenous communities throughout southwestern Ontario in a three-day camp designed to increase indigenous female student participation in STEM experiences — science, technology, engineering and math. This pilot project, a partnership between the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre (WAEC), Engineering Science Quest (ESQ), and the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 Framework aims to address the indigenous education gap in Canada with a particular focus on gender.

PhysiXX: Girls Matter

  • On Saturday Dec 3, 2016 the University of Waterloo will invite 80 to 100 young women in grades seven and eight to explore the physical sciences at a free event on campus.  They will attend two engaging talks advocating for the importance of physics education and relevance to real life; and a panel of current Physics students who will answer questions posed to them by the participants who will also engage in a series of hands-on, physics-based activities.

Athletics and Recreation: Female Leadership

  • In November 2016, the Department of Athletics & Recreation department will celebrate 16 new Athletic Financial Awards (AFA) for female student-athletes and the recruitment of three new female leadership positions coaching women’s baseball, women’s volleyball and women’s hockey varsity teams. The Athletics & Recreation department has also instituted new mentorship programs to continue the recruitment of new female leaders and designed women-only programming to attract more females into leisure activities.   

EQuALS 2017: Excellence and Quality in Academic Life in STEM

  • EQuALS is a venue for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and young scholars considering an academic career in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field.  The purpose of this conference is to explore the spectrum of pathways of academic success in STEM with an explicit focus on gender equity and its intersections with other identity markers. There will be opportunities to present research to peers and experts in the STEM fields, participate in academia-focused professional development, attend inspiring keynotes and interactive panel sessions.

University of Waterloo Gender Equity Research Grants

  • On March 1, 2016 the University of Waterloo announced the University of Waterloo Gender Equity Research Grants. This new initiative that offers eight grants of up to $10,000 each to support research investigating or addressing gender equity, with preference given to projects that advance Waterloo's three IMPACT 10x10x10 commitments or of demonstrated relevance to the University of Waterloo.

HeForShe writing contest

  • Taking place in the fall of 2016, everyone in the University of Waterloo community — students, staff, faculty, and alumni — are invited to share experiences and stories about gender equity at Waterloo. Prizes will be awarded for the top submission in each category (poetry, creative non-fiction and fiction). Prizes will be awarded for the top submission in each category and select submissions will  be included in a University of Waterloo anthology on gender equity to be published on March 8, 2017 — International Women’s Day.

WIMIn Ideathon 2016

  • The WIMIn Ideathon held March 5 to 6, 2016, was a two-day event aiming to connect, inspire and explore the potential of women across disciplines while helping them seed or grow ideas.  The next WIMIn Ideathon will be held January 28 to 29, 2017.

Quotes from Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor, University of Waterloo:

  • “For the University of Waterloo, one of the keys to innovation is breaking down barriers: between industry and academy, between academic disciplines, and between our brilliant students and their highest aspirations. HeForShe is about continuing to break down barriers so women and girls can pursue their dreams with equal opportunity, encouragement, openness and support.”
  • “I am proud that Waterloo is taking the lead for Canada’s university sector in the global HeForShe effort. As a STEM-intensive university, we know that we’ve got our work cut out for us in achieving long-term and sustainable gender equity. We need to promote the message that women equally belong in and excel in STEM. What’s more, we need to deliberately create clear paths for women to pursue studies in fields like computer science, engineering and mathematics so we can overcome social barriers that have no place in an innovation university in the 21st century.”
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