WOMEN IN STEM
It’s not hard to find statistics showing the underrepresentation of women in STEM. Despite making up nearly half of the workforce, less than 30% of the STEM workforce are women. When you narrow that down to female CEO’s, a recent 2020 study showed that of all TSX listed companies, that number falls to under 5%. (Osler Report, Diversity Disclosure Practices: 2021 )
You don’t need a rocket scientist to conclude that these numbers need to be adjusted to better reflect reality.
The results of such studies provide a great platform for us to talk about these disparities and spark discussion about ways we can improve the imbalance. And that’s great. But more than just discussion, it does take action. How do we break the bias? We think businesses large and small play the most important role in this. We understand that there are often challenges finding female candidates, and it’s a challenge that we know very well. But collectively, we can’t be complacent about it. There are ways to be intentional and strategic in hiring processes to ensure businesses are casting a wider and more diverse net.
"Girls achievements and interests in math and science are shaped by the environment around them." - AAUW
HOW ARE WE BREAKING THE BIAS?
KPM Power’s Bursary and Financial Support for Equity Focused Programming
At KPM Power, we’ve sponsored female hackathons and contributed to amazing organizations that increase participation in STEM for not only women but other underrepresented groups, beginning at the elementary school level. In 2021, KPM Power made a commitment to the Lassonde School of Engineering, providing a $160,000 donation to establish a bursary to benefit female-identified students entering STEM programs, and provide support for strategic programs that promote equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.
"We are grateful to KPM Power for this donation which will go towards advancing equity-focused programming and empowering young women to pursue a STEM education".
- Jane Goodyer, dean of the Lassonde School of Engineering
The Lassonde School of Engineering launched k2i (kindergarten to industry) academy in June 2020 with a mission to create an ecosystem of diverse partners, committed to dismantling systemic barriers to opportunity for underrepresented students in STEM.
KPM Power Bursary will grant Lassonde School of Engineering’s K2I Academy $90,000 towards equity-focused programming that will support underrepresented youth in STEM over the next three years, including the Helen Carswell STEAM Program for Women.
When reflecting on the statistics and environment of workplaces, we hope to motivate businesses who are faced with the challenges about there not being enough diverse candidates, to reflect on the actions they’re taking to support initiatives that are working towards changing it.
There is power in bringing diverse voices and backgrounds to the table. I know we feel the strength in our diversity, at KPM Power. And collectively, if we can help unleash the potential in people, in women, everyone benefits in the end. Let's all work together and close the STEM gap.
Resources and helpful links.
American Association of University Women (AAUW) completed studies into why women have been underrepresented in STEM: https://www.aauw.org/resources/research/the-stem-gap/
Osler Report: 2021 Diversity Disclosure Practices - Diversity and leadership at Canadian Public Companies https://www.osler.com/en/resources/governance/2021/report-2021-diversity-disclosure-practices-diversity-and-leadership-at-canadian-public-companies