This year’s International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month were met with enthusiasm across the sector through sharing stories of women’s accomplishments, identifying areas for improvement with gender equity, and connecting women from all areas and levels in this shared goal. On our part, we at EHRC were thrilled to see so much engagement and support within the Canadian electricity community leading up to March 8.
Over the week, we shared stories of women (both historical and current) on our social channels. These trailblazers and role models show us that women accomplish incredible things in electricity when given the chance, and remind us that breaking through the glass ceiling takes passion and confidence.
“Follow your interests and don’t be shy to take your space!” @audouin_anne President of @WaterPowerCA “This industry is a fantastic community.” #InternationalWomensDay #WomenInElectricity pic.twitter.com/9LB3V83FK5
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 2, 2020
We’re inspired by Sheryl Maisonville, one of Ontario’s first journeyperson electricians. Sheryl’s advice: “You’ve got to stick your head high in the air and say, ‘I belong here too!’”
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 4, 2020
Today we’re featuring Lisa Nadeau, Vice President of Human Resources @theAESO: “Women make up 51% of the population. Our participation in the electricity sector is key to building a diverse and inclusive workforce!” #InternationalWomensDay #WomenInElectricity pic.twitter.com/vp9JA0Wszg
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 5, 2020
“The key to success for women working in the energy sector is having a strong and supportive network. There’s power in having a network of women who are devoted to helping each other succeed!” Lisa McBride, President of @win_canada #InternationalWomensDay #WomenInElectricity pic.twitter.com/tYCnC2C2Yu
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 6, 2020
Spotlight on another historical #WomanInElectricity: Edith Clarke was the 1st 🇺🇸 woman electrical engineer. Her passion for physics lead her to develop an initial step in data analysis towards the smart grid! Read her story: https://t.co/p5mZQZUGNX #InternationalWomensDay
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 7, 2020
#DYK that Shelley Harding-Smith was 🇨🇦’s first Black female master electrician? She broke racial and gender barriers in her career and didn’t give up! #InternationalWomensDay #WomenInElectricity Read her story: https://t.co/fNAcoqBSdH
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 8, 2020
Our staff attended Women’s Day events across the country, both through personal and professional networks, including emPOWERing Women, a panel session for young women entering the sector hosted by the Canadian Electricity Association. At this event, our CEO Michelle Branigan shared the story of her professional life and encouraged the audience to have the confidence to take chances.
In Alberta, our Project Manager, Anita, attended Scovan Engineering’s #EachForEqual event, celebrating women in engineering and other technical fields.
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 9, 2020
In Toronto, our Manager of Stakeholder Engagement, Marie, attended OEA’s Women in Energy event, which included amazing women from across Ontario.
EHRC’s Marie is at the @energyontario Women in Energy event today in Toronto with @KathyLerette of @alectranews, Robin Riddell of @IESO_Tweets and many other wonderful women from Ontario’s energy sector! pic.twitter.com/xpgXbkPtbm
— EHRC (@electricityHR) March 4, 2020
We welcomed two new signatories to the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity (congratulations Canadian Electricity Association and Nuclear Waste Management Organization!) and one advocate (way to go, Step Up, Breakthrough in Energy Management!).
Additionally, we put the finishing touches on some new research about women in leadership—stay tuned for an upcoming release. In short, we had a busy week!
International Women’s Day may be only one day and Women’s History Month just one month, but the issues they address persist throughout the year. Barriers to entry and progression in the workplace mean that women make up only around 26% of the workforce in Canada’s electricity sector. This representation varies among fields, with women’s representation in the skilled trades coming in at a much lower number.
At EHRC, we’re encouraged by the progress we see, but we know there’s more work to do! Let’s remember to keep the momentum going by listening to, respecting, and celebrating our colleagues of all genders in the workplace everyday. Together, we can continue to grow Canada’s electricity sector into a competitive, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all.