Office of the President

Andrew Petter, President and Vice-Chancellor

Petter's Perspective: Notes from the President


International Women’s Day highlights the importance of equity and inclusion

March 08, 2018

Every year on March 8, many countries around the world celebrate International Women’s Day to mark the achievements of women and of the women’s equality movement.

That movement has made us all aware of discrimination faced by women and girls at home and around the world, and how this intersects with other forms of discrimination. Based on our commitments to equity, diversity and inclusion, we at SFU have dedicated ourselves to take active measures to counter such discrimination and to promote the success of women throughout the university.

I am particularly proud that seven of fourteen members of SFU’s Board of Governors are women, including the Board Chair and Chancellor; that six of twelve members of our executive group are women; and that seven of eleven deans are women. The talent and commitment of these and other women at all levels of our organization contribute to SFU’s reputation as a top Canadian employer and as Canada’s leading comprehensive university. 

However there is still much work to be done. The Provost has recently appointed a Special Advisor on Equity and Diversity to oversee a new initiative aimed at embedding equity, diversity and inclusion more deeply into all our institutional practices and processes.  Campus-wide consultations will soon be underway.

In addition, SFU has implemented a new Sexual Violence and Misconduct Prevention, Education and Support policy, and has established a Sexual Violence Support & Prevention Office.

We have adopted an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan for the Canada Research Chairs Program, and have taken steps to increase the representation of SFU women scholars in the news media. The SFU Emerging Thought Leaders Program offers workshops, coaching and other support to help academic women build their profiles. By showcasing their unique expertise and enhancing their public persona, the program can also assist participants to attract funding and research partners.

SFU is also sponsoring an event on March 8, hosted by SFU Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology, entitled Understanding Imposter Syndrome with Dr. Valerie Young. Open to SFU Faculty and Staff, the workshop is free but registration is recommended. A second event is planned for March 9 at the BC Tech Innovation Hub.

While it is not possible to list them individually, I would like to thank the many people at SFU who are working to create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive campus environment. 

Their efforts are appreciated every day, but never more so than on International Women’s Day.