For International Women’s Day, several Canadian startups have announced initiatives that remove barriers to women entering the tech industry, or support those already in it. Here’s a roundup of a few of those initiatives.
Beanworks launches #WomenPayItForward mentoring initiative
Beanworks — which boasts a team made up of 50 percent women — has launched a #WomenPayItForward mentoring initiative to encourage young girls to enter the STEM industry.
“There’s no better time than International Women’s Day to take a moment and reflect, remember the difficulties and strife we pushed past in order to get to where we are today, and ask ourselves how can we make the path to STEM easier for our girls tomorrow,” says Dahl. “Everyone is commenting on how tech needs gender diversity, but no one has a plan to implement change. Gender parity in technology is only possible if we consciously work towards making it happen!”
The initiative asks women in the industry to pledge five hours of their time to a women in STEM initiative of their choice, and encourage other women to do the same. #WomenPayItForward was launched in association with partner organizations including Canada Learning Code, Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST), and the Canadian Association of Girls in Science (CAGIS).
”I not only understand the challenges of being a woman in technology but am actively working to support women at my own company and in the broader tech community,” said Dahl. “I firmly believe having a diverse team is the key to our success at Beanworks. Our executive team is currently 50% female and we have a company-wide goal to be a gender-equal work environment.”
OpenText launching inaugural Women in Technology Summit in Toronto
OpenText announced that it’s launching the inaugural OpenText Women in Technology Summit, which will take place in Toronto on July 12.
“We are committed to driving the conversation on increasing, promoting and supporting women in technology,” said Kasey Holman, senior vice president of Communications& Brand at OpenText. “A key focus is building the next generation of leaders and innovators in this industry. Our speaker lineup features role models who are trailblazing, each with powerful stories about how they are shaping and changing diversity in the technology industry.”
Keynote speakers for the Summit include former CTO of the United States Megan Smith, CEO of Blendoor Stephanie Lampkin, and Jodi Kovitz, CEO and founder of #MoveTheDial.
“OpenText is honoured to create a new leadership forum at OpenText Enterprise World, the Women in Technology Summit,” said Mark J. Barrenechea, CEO and CTO at OpenText. “Innovation is at the heart of OpenText, and diversity is a key element of innovation. The Women in Technology Summit will bring leaders together from across North America to further advance innovation through diversity.”
Other Summit panelists include:
- Pearl Sullivan, University of Waterloo Dean of Engineering
- Mei Dent, OpenText Vice President of Research and Development
- Danny Allen, SAP Labs Vice President of Tech Diversity and Inclusion
- Anar Simpson, Technovation Global Ambassador
- Saadia Muzaffar, founder of TechGirls of Canada
- Lucia Melgarejo, SAP UX Designer
Building an inclusive company? Here are resources that could help
Throughout 2017, several organizations have launched resources to help companies that want to build a diverse and inclusive company, but don’t know where to start. Depending on your need, here are a few that have launched to date:
- Feminuity and Fortay’s diversity survey, which measures metrics of belonging
- Hubba’s framework for measuring diversity within your tech company in a sensitive way
- TechGirls Canada’s Change Together playbook for startups to diversify their workplaces, piloted with TWG
- The Expecting Playbook for startups to build parental policies
There are also a few events going on this week that are sold out, by organizations that you should keep top of mind:
Have an event you want added to this list? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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