SUDBURY, ON (FEB 11, 2020) – Laurentian University welcomed 85 Grade Six girls and boys from Greater Sudbury-area schools yesterday in recognition of the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The students experienced a packed day of demonstrations and presentations which highlighted amazing women in science and trades.
The activities also emphasized the importance of inclusivity in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine). Women scientists and post-secondary researchers from many Sudbury institutions, including Laurentian University, Cambrian College, SNOLAB, the Go ENG Girl program, and more, led the activities. They shared their own experiences, challenges and successes in pursuing careers in STEMM while leading hands-on demonstrations for attendees.
Following the day’s activities, there was a free, public discussion at Dynamic Earth, led by Master of Ceremonies Dr. Nadia Mykytczuk. Four panelists took questions from the public on the topic of inclusivity in STEMM. The panelists were all acclaimed and highly successful women in STEMM: Dr. Tammy Eger, Dr. Jennifer Jocko, Dr. Madiha Khan, and Ashley Kirwan, MSc, PGeo. Dr. Eger also gave a visual presentation about her recent journey to Antarctica as a member of the esteemed Homeward Bound program.
CLOSING THE GAP
The purpose of the day’s events was to promote inclusivity in STEMM, and to inspire women and girls to consider careers in STEMM fields. A significant gender gap persists in STEMM disciplines globally, despite some progress. In 2015, the United Nations’ General Assembly adopted a resolution for an annual International Day to recognize the critical role women and girls play in science and technology communities. Dr. Eger, who led Laurentian’s celebrations of the event in 2019, says it’s time for change.
“The idea is to advocate for more women to advance into leadership positions and also to look at under-represented groups in the STEMM disciplines,” said Dr. Eger. “The literature shows that by the time children reach high-school they have already made key decisions about what they want to be when they graduate. Today’s event targets Grade 6 students to give young girls some new ideas about what they can do, and young men the opportunity to see them as colleagues.”
Partners in the event included Laurentian University, Cambrian College, Science North, SNOLAB, She&Her, The Foundry, the ECHO Research Centre, the Center for Rural and Northern Health Research, the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health, the Goodman School of Mines, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, NSERC, and Laurentian University’s: Office of the VP Research, Faculty of Health, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Architecture, Office of Francophone Affairs, and Research Coordinators Group.