SFU President’s Dream Colloquium examines women’s roles in tech
By Wan Yee Lok
For those who are interested in understanding the value of gender diversity in the tech sector, SFU’s President’s Dream Colloquium is not to be missed.
Women in Technology: Attracting, Retaining and Promoting Diverse Talent is a seven-part public lecture series beginning on Sept. 13. Key experts from around the world will identify challenges to gender equity and discover solutions for improving recruitment, retention and leadership options for women.
Diversity and inclusion are critical to high-tech corporate success. Yet statistics reveal that less than 25 per cent of those working in the science, technology, engineering and math sectors (STEM) are women, and that they earn seven-and-a-half per cent less than men.
"There is a crucial need to achieve gender equality in the tech sector, especially at a time when it is growing faster than ever," says colloquium organizer Lesley Shannon, an SFU engineering science professor. She holds the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Chair for Women in Science and Engineering for the B.C. and Yukon region.
"We hope the colloquium will help people engage in a multidisciplinary dialogue about the value of creating more space in technology for women and other under-represented groups."
Six of the lectures are free, except for Cathy O’Neil’s lecture on Oct. 26.
The President's Dream Colloquium schedule is as follows:
Sept. 14: Diversity 101: The Case for Diversity in Technology
Maria Klawe, president, Harvey Mudd College
Sept. 21: Women in Media and Advertising
Shari Graydon, catalyst, Informed Opinions
Oct. 12: Social Psychological Phenomena
Steven Spencer, the Robert K. and Dale J. Weary Chair in Social Psychology, Ohio State University
Oct. 26: Gender and Bias in Algorithmic Design
Cathy O'Neil, author, Weapons of Math Destruction
Nov 9: Gendered Language
Danielle Gaucher, associate professor, Department of Psychology, University of Winnipeg
Nov. 23: Women as Leaders and Innovators
Jo Miller, founder, Be Leaderly
Lectures will be webcast live and available on the President’s Dream Colloquium website, www.sfu.ca/womenintech.
As a part of the colloquium, students can enroll in a graduate course covering a broad range of topics related to diversity in the technology sector. Shannon says the course will focus on women and their role in technology as well as issues that affect other under‐represented groups.
“I hope the course will establish a foundation for future managers, supervisors, sponsors, mentors and others wanting to pursue leadership roles to work towards creating a level playing field in technology and other industries,” says Shannon.
The colloquium course (SAR 897) is still accepting students. Visit go.sfu.ca to enroll.