Ensuring equal opportunity in tech begins early. Four discussion tracks will focusing on different stages of education and career for women and girls. 

In each track, you will hear from researchers examining the gender gap, get inspiration and insight from keynote speakers, and share your voice and experiences in working group sessions.


Early Childhood

rocking horse

Early Middle Years


Secondary To Post-Secondary





Opening Remarks

Welcome and greetings from:

  • Deputy Minister Tracey Maconachie, Economic Development and Training, Province of Manitoba
  • Dr. Jan Stewart, Interim Provost and Vice-President Academic at The University of Winnipeg
  • Video Message: Dr Jenni Sidey-Gibbons, Astronaut, Mechanical Engineer, Combustion Scientist, Lecturer
  • Ashley Smith, HR Manager, Ubisoft Winnipeg


9:15 - 10:00


Dr. Victoria Kaspi

Dr. Victoria Kaspi is a Professor of Physics at McGill University, where she holds the Lorne Trottier Chair in Astrophysics and Cosmology, and the Distinguished James McGill Chair.

10:00 - 11:00

Breakout Session 1: “It’s a Dry Cold”: Women in University Research

Dr. Janice Dodd

My interest in women in STEM came from my own experience of being the lone woman faculty member in the Department of Physiology. Our first study of women as biomedical researchers in Canada indicated that women were as likely as men to receive funding but there was a loss of women at every career level. In 2000 the Canada Research Chairs program was launched to keep the brightest in Canada. But again these prestigious awards went disproportionally to men. A Human Rights complaint was followed by a promise to level the playing field. Then in 2010 the super-chairs (CERC), a $200 million program was added to attract exceptional scientists to Canada. The awards were 19 to men 0 to women; universities put forward 38 men 0 women. Council of Canadian Academies was asked to investigate. Our Report indicated that  advancement is slower for women, a pay gap exists, mechanisms to exit the career path are many but re-entry is difficult. At that time the gold standard (a double-blind, prospective, randomized, experimental) study of science culture appeared. Moss-Rauscin sent identical CV’s with gender-specific names to science faculty members to hire a lab manager. The male applicant was seen to be more competent and offered higher salary. Importantly gender of the faculty person did not matter.  Biases about who can do science are deeply held. Gender-bias training and anti-racism policies are essential. Opening science to greater diversity is not just about employment equity but who gets to pose questions and address important problems.

11:00 - 11:15


11:15 - 12:15

Breakout Session 2: Understanding Career Persistence of Women in the Engineering Workplace in Manitoba

Kathryn Atamanchuk, P.Eng., MBA, PMP, FEC

Women are underrepresented in the Canadian engineering profession at a rate of nearly 10:1 when compared to their male counterparts. This poses a problem for a profession whose goal is to provide innovative and inclusive solutions that work for all people. In Manitoba, while women are underrepresented in engineering at the same rate as the national average, there is also evidence that some either never enter the profession after graduation, or leave at various stages in their career.

While many studies have examined recruitment and retention issues of women in engineering at the postsecondary career stage, far fewer studies have examined women’s persistence in engineering practice post-graduation.  To address this, a study was undertaken that explored the elements of women’s experiences in the engineering profession that both enable and deter their persistence in the profession with an aim to understand how these elements or factors interact with one another over time & space.

The findings indicate that this is a multi-dimensional problem that includes factors such as a need for improved work-life balance, workplace cultural shifts, and confidence building. Implications of these finding include a need to support both new graduates in the professional engineering licensure process and former members who wish to return to practice. Concrete proposals to ease re-entry to practice are also presented.

12:15 - 1:15


1:15 - 2:15

Breakout Session 3: A Gender Analysis of the Occupational Pathways of STEM Graduates in Canada

Kristyn Frank

Increasing women’s participation in STEM fields has been identified as one way of meeting the growing demand for STEM-trained workers. However, despite increases in women’s educational attainment and participation in scientific occupations over the past several decades, women remain underrepresented in STEM fields. While much of the research on women in these fields concentrates on “leaks” in the STEM pipeline throughout their educational training, less is known about the loss of women from STEM fields after they obtain STEM credentials and how this compares with their male peers. This talk will discuss the results from a study which investigated the occupational pathways of women and men in Canada who hold postsecondary credentials in STEM fields. In particular, gender differences in the proportion of graduates who persisted in, exited, entered, or never worked in a STEM occupation between 2006 and 2016 will be highlighted. Some results will also be broken down by field of study groups including: (a) physical and chemical sciences; (b) biological, general and integrated sciences; (c) engineering and engineering technology; and (d) mathematics and computer and information sciences. This study was funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada.

2:15 - 2:30


2:30 - 3:00

Track Discussion Session

3:00 - 3:45

Sharing Findings


Closing Remarks