Chapter 1 – Engineering

Women and Under-Represented Individuals in Engineering

Women are an under-represented group in the engineering profession. As stated by Engineers Canada at

Women make up more than half of the Canadian population but are significantly underrepresented in engineering education and in the engineering profession. Over the past decades, the number of women enrolled in post-secondary engineering programs has risen, as has the number of women in the engineering profession. Yet despite steady increases in the representation of women, men still vastly outnumber women in engineering.

In the Engineers Canada Strategic Plan, 2019-2021, the Engineers Canada Board made the recruitmentretention, and professional development of women in the engineering profession one of four strategic priorities for the organization, and directed Engineers Canada to develop goals and action plans for all three of these areas. Engineers Canada consulted regulators and 30 by 30 Champions on the three areas and published an Environmental Scan on the current state and context of the 30 by 30 initiative. This work is primarily carried out through Engineers Canada’s 30 by 30 initiative, which has as its goal raising the percentage of newly licensed engineers who are women to 30 per cent by the year 2030. Thirty per cent is held as the tipping point for sustainable change—reaching 30 by 30 will help drive cultural change in the engineering profession, supporting even greater involvement of women in the profession.


There are many organizations working to increase diversity in engineering.   CCWESTT or the Canadian Coalition of Women in Engineering, Science, Trades and Technology is just one of them.

International Women in Engineering Day

Every year on June 23, Engineers Canada joins individuals and organizations around the world in celebrating International Women in Engineering Day. While Engineers Canada and others work year-round to increase the representation of women in engineering, International Women in Engineering Day is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the achievements of women in engineering, share our successes, and bring even more attention to the need to continue this important work throughout the year.

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

It has been over 30 years since the murder of 14 young women, most of whom where engineering students, at Polytechnique Montréal (December 6, 1989). This act of violent misogyny shook our country and led the Canadian Parliament to designate December 6 as The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

As we mourn their loss and remember their lives , we reaffirm our commitment to fight the hatred that led to this tragedy, and the misogyny that still exists today. In Canada and around the world, women, girls, 2SLGBTQQIA+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, plus) and gender diverse individuals face unacceptable violence and discrimination.

The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is about remembering those who have experienced gender-based violence and those who we have lost to it. It is also a time to take action. Achieving a Canada free from gender-based violence requires everyone living in this country to educate themselves and their families and communities on gender-based violence, centre the voices of survivors in our actions and speak up against harmful behaviours.

Mentorship – an example from the University of Alberta

Inspired by the Lean-In movement whose mission is to “help women achieve their ambitions and work to create an equal world.”  You can learn more about lean-in here:

The University of Alberta (UA) is located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It has a UA-WiSE/WISER Mentorship Program which aims to connect women and under-represented individuals in STEM fields with mentors who can help foster professional development and personal discovery.

You can get more information here:

This is part of the WISEST group at the University of Alberta, Canada.  Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science, & Technology (WISEST) focuses on creating effective programs to empower women (and other underrepresented groups) to pursue, impact, and succeed in the fields of science, engineering, and technology.  You can get more information here:

Five Amazing Women in Engineering

Here is a great ten minute video from SciShow about five amazing women in engineering starting with Hedy Lamarr.


Sources: Hedy Lamarr
Olive Wetzel Dennis
Treena Livingston Arinzeh


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To the extent possible under law, Jennifer Kirkey has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Engineering and Technology in Society - Canada, except where otherwise noted.

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