Women in STEM
“Gender balance is like candlelight. When you use one candle’s flame to ignite another, the original flame doesn’t diminish. Instead, there is twice as much light. The more light that is shared, the brighter the room becomes. That’s the message we should be thinking about when we talk about achieving equality. We need to share the light with women so the room can shine at its brightest.
Gender balance isn’t about making room for women by squeezing men out. It’s about making space for everyone by increasing the size of the room.”
CNSC President Rumina Velshi
The Canadian economy relies on a highly skilled and sophisticated workforce to achieve and maintain our collective prosperity, security and societal harmony. In particular, greater diversity in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce would provide significant benefits to Canadians by addressing skills shortages, increasing innovation and capacity, and providing a greater return on human resources investment.
However, our culture makes it difficult for women of all ages to make educational and lifestyle choices that channel them into STEM careers after they finish school. In Canada today, women make up less than a quarter of those employed in STEM careers and less than 20% of the nuclear sector’s workforce. This represents a large untapped resource.
The voices of women, whether members of the public, interveners in Commission proceedings, or employees of licensees or of the CNSC, are vital to the conversation on nuclear safety and security. As we move forward, it will be key for the nuclear sector to actively open doors to those who have historically experienced barriers.
The CNSC, championed by President Velshi, contributes to the development and capacity building of women in STEM careers within our organization. We do this by making the pursuit of these careers more equitable and achievable for women, as an integral part of the CNSC’s culture. The CNSC can help in a meaningful way to remove barriers to women who wish to pursue STEM careers, not only at the CNSC but in other organizations as well.
Accordingly, the CNSC is now launching a Women in STEM (WISTEM) initiative to support women in STEM careers at the CNSC and elsewhere, and to raise awareness of STEM in collaboration with interested partners like government, industry and academia.
This Web page is one of the ways the CNSC will share information and activities related to this important initiative. We will also share topical information on STEM, Women in Nuclear (WIN) and other related topics.
Excerpts from the Statement by the Prime Minister on International Women’s Day ‒ Ottawa, Ontario ‒ March 8, 2019:
“Advancing gender equality is a top priority for the Government of Canada. Last year, for the first time in Canada’s history, we put gender equality at the core of the federal budget and provided important new funding for women entrepreneurs, newcomer women, and women in trades.…
“Today, let’s celebrate the major achievements of women everywhere, and keep pushing for progress on gender equality. We all benefit when everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive – and we all have a role to play to make that a reality.”
“The voices of women, whether members of the general public, interveners in Commission proceedings, or employees of licensees or of the CNSC, are vital to the conversation on nuclear safety and security. As we move forward, it will be key for the nuclear sector to actively open doors to those who have historically experienced barriers.”
CNSC President Rumina Velshi
- IAEA International Women’s Day 2019: Inspiring Stories of Women in the Nuclear Field. President Rumina Velshi speaking at the International Atomic Energy Agency’s International Women’s Day event (12:00‒28:00 on the video).
Speeches and presentations:
- September 29, 2020: Remarks by President Rumina Velshi at the inaugural meeting of the International Gender Champions Impact Group on Gender Equality in Nuclear Regulatory Agencies
- Ms. Velshi discussed the importance of empowering women to pursue education and careers in STEM fields.
- April 26, 2019: Presentation by President Rumina Velshi to TRIUMF’s Board of Management
- Ms. Velshi provided an overview of the CNSC, with a focus on innovation, safety culture and strengthening of public trust.
- March 13, 2019: Keynote remarks by President Velshi at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Federal Women’s Program Advisory Committee Women’s History Month luncheon
- Ms. Velshi discussed how building diverse and inclusive organizations improves working conditions for everyone, and what we can do as individuals to work toward gender balance in our day-to-day lives.
- February 22, 2019: Remarks by President Velshi at the OPG Women’s Leadership Forum
- In her remarks, titled “Balance for Better in the Energy Sector”, Ms. Velshi spoke about how everyone can work toward gender balance in the workplace and in our day-to-day lives.
- September 27, 2018: Remarks by President Rumina Velshi at the Women in Nuclear Conference
- Ms. Velshi shared some insights about how to overcome barriers that exist for women in male-dominated science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
- August 28, 2018: Presentation by President Rumina Velshi at the U.S. Nuclear Industry Council USA‒Canada Nuclear Energy Leadership Summit
- Ms. Velshi provided an overview of the CNSC and its regulatory readiness strategy for licensing small modular reactors. She also outlined her priorities and goals as the new CNSC President.
- July 18, 2018: Keynote remarks by incoming CNSC President Rumina Velshi at the 15th FORATOM-IAEA International Conference on Quality, Leadership and Management in the Nuclear Industry
- Ms. Velshi shared some experiences as a woman in the Canadian nuclear energy industry and provided her vision of how the CNSC can evolve to meet major changes occurring in the nuclear sector.
- Representation of Women on Boards of Directors (Source: Statistics Canada, 2019) This study looks at gender-based diversity within corporate boards in Canada.
- Persistence and representation of women in STEM programs (Source: Statistics Canada, 2019) This document provides the results of a five-year cohort study to answer the question “Once they enroll in a STEM program at university, are women less likely than men to persist in the same program until graduation?”
- Women and Education: Qualifications, Skills and Technology (Source: Statistics Canada, 2016) This report provides a profile of women's education in Canada, including various points along the “pipeline” such as mathematics and reading skills in high school, and labour market outcomes for STEM and non-STEM fields of study.
- Women in corporate Canada: Who's at the top? (Source: Statistics Canada, 2019) This infographic sheds light on the representation of women in leadership positions within corporations conducting business in Canada for the year 2016.
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