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This article was published 27/4/2018 (635 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A traditionally male-dominated profession has set a "very ambitious goal" to attract more women to the workforce.
Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba is launching its 30 by 30 campaign Monday with a panel discussion at the Manitoba legislature among its association members.
Their aim is to have 30 per cent of newly licensed engineers in the province be women by the year 2030. The current tally sits around 15 per cent.
"I do think it’s a very ambitious goal to get 30 per cent of engineers to be women by 2030," said Lisa Stepnuk, the project’s co-ordinator.
"It would be doubling the current rate, but it’s an important goal. If we don’t set big goals and make bold moves, then we can’t expect change to happen. So we’re going to work as hard as we can to meet that goal."
Stepnuk said engineering has fallen behind other traditionally male-dominated industries, like law and medicine, in terms of gender equity.
The association has allotted $800,000 to do research and launch a strategic advertising campaign to appeal to more girls to consider engineering as a career later in life.
Engineers Canada is currently undertaking a similar campaign.
"The initial research is showing that the culprits (for having fewer women in engineering) range from unconscious gender bias in teaching math and science from a young age and societal gender expectations, to lack of role models, both in the profession and in the media," Stepnuk said.
She related to those findings, having graduated with a degree in engineering from the University of Manitoba in 2003.
Nusraat Masood, program administrator for WISE Kid-netic Energy, visits schools around Manitoba to try and get kids from diverse backgrounds to be more interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
She will also be speaking at Monday’s panel event at the legislature alongside Sarah Stringer, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Juliet Creative Inc., and Lindsay Melvin, past president.
If the engineering profession doesn’t become more diverse, it won’t progress, Masood said.
"I think we’re going to face some very significant challenges in the future, like climate change, and I think it’s going to require more creative approaches," she said. "And if we need to hear from different voices to come up with these creative designs that will make our life better, we have to have diversity in our workforce. We can’t have the same people who did things the exact same way."
Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Updated on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 9:34 AM CDT: Name fixed.
11:09 AM: Updated.