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Waterloo marks progress on gender equality efforts at UN

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Waterloo President and Vice-Chancellor Feridun Hamdullahpur joined delegates from around the world at the HeForShe IMPACT Event to recognize advancements in gender equality.

The event was hosted by UN Women in New York City, and was attended by heads of state, global CEOs and university presidents who committed their organizations to tangible gender equality goals in 2015 as part of the HeForShe IMPACT10x10x10 initiative.

“Real, sustainable change does not result from the actions of a single person or vision,” said Hamdullahpur. “We will both lead by example and learn from the experience of others so that we can swiftly fulfill our HeForShe commitments.”

As part of the 10x10x10 initiative, Waterloo committed to achieving a number of gender equality goals by 2020.

Goals include increasing the number of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach experiences to 33 per cent, enhancing female faculty representation to 30 per cent, and having 29 per cent of senior academic and administrative positions at the University filled by women.

To date, Waterloo has increased the number of women in STEM outreach to 35 per cent, female faculty membership to 29 per cent, and now see 27.5 per cent of leadership positions occupied by women.

In addition to the progress on their HeForShe goals, Waterloo also sees women occupy 30 per cent of the first-year engineering seats for the first time ever.

As part of the IMPACT Event, the UN Women released their Parity Report, which highlights gender equality solutions put forward by IMPACT champions, including 10 heads of state, 10 global CEOs and 10 university presidents. Included in the report is Waterloo’s HeForShe scholarships, which are designed to encourage more women to participate in STEM.

“The results announced in today’s IMPACT 10x10x10 Parity Report are inspirational. In 2015, I challenged the Champions to ‘think big’ and commit to creative approaches that tackled the greatest barriers. We know that incremental steps do not bring us the benefits that we so urgently need,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. “As leaders in their fields the Champions hold the key to breaking norms and making game-changing progress for both women and men. The report shares strategies, roadblocks and successes so others can follow suit.” 

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


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Matthew Grant
University of Waterloo

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