March 11, 2020Why International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month Matters

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.

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.

CEA’s Sarah Robinson and Janice Garcia, along with EHRC’s Michelle Branigan and Women of PLT’s Lana Norton at CEA’s emPOWERing Women.

In Alberta, our Project Manager, Anita, attended Scovan Engineering’s #EachForEqual event, celebrating women in engineering and other technical fields.

In Toronto, our Manager of Stakeholder Engagement, Marie, attended OEA’s Women in Energy event, which included amazing women from across Ontario.

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!).

Laurie Sawmi, President and CEO of Nuclear Waste Management Organization, signs the Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity as her colleagues look on.

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.