Advocating gender equity in and around the community.
I have seen the hardships and challenge the women face in two parts of the world, in developing countries and in North America. I have spent many years in both areas of the world, and thus can speak from my experience that women need to be empowered in all aspects of life. The conditions related to women’s rights and empowerment is much better here in Canada than in third world countries but yet there is still significant progress that can be made towards equality. A change is needed in society’s attitude and psychology towards women’s capabilities and the roles they can, and should, play in our society.
Hence I cannot think of a better institute than the University of Waterloo to start this initiative as we are a partner with the United Nations solidarity movement of Gender equality (HeForShe) and have already given STEM scholarships to female students in order to encourage them to pursue technical fields, especially engineering. Moreover we have been recognized by the Goodwill Ambassador of HeForShe at United Nations, Emma Watson, at the World Economic Forum.
For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
English statesman Edmund Burke said, “All that is needed for forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”
While this topic of women rights and increasing their participation in STEM programs is not a topic which I have spoken much about in the past, I think it’s important to acknowledge something that has become obvious to me and is already known to everyone.
Quoting His highness Prince Harry. During the visit in Nepal. “There are way too many obstacles between girls and the opportunities they deserve” Prince Harry.
Let’s share some of the startling statistics about this important issue. Globally, 62 million girls are not getting the education they deserve. 2/3 of the nearly 800 million people who were never taught to read and write are women. Around the world, more than 700million women alive today were married as children and nearly 250million of them were married before the age of 15.
We have been constantly working towards achieving gender parity and equity in and around our waterloo community through different dialogues, interviews, outreach activities and organizing events. We have performed various outreach activities, attended WIE conference, open halls and organized two guest lectures in the presence of Former Global Leader of IBM, President of PEO and Associate Dean of Engineering. We cannot achieve our targets unless we work together with all sectors of society, have open conversations and feel free to express ourselves. In addition to this, I have also conducted various interviews with industry, academic and start-up people to get to know the biases and the challenges they experienced while working in Engineering field. I was actually amazed when they talked about some stunning incidents and revealed biases which prevail in the industry among woman's. In order to solve and address these problems, we need to continuously work together in a more inclusive manner in developed and developing countries. I have personally noticed that when people talk and share their stories, it creates a positive environment where people can feel comfortable, solve and address these issues among each other.
It’s been more than 2 years since I have been the Engineering Ambassador of HeForShe at the University of Waterloo. It is very crucial for the whole society to acknowledge this movement. Once the strengths are recognized, it will empower the whole community and the world will be a better place to live in.
To empower people, we should not judge them. For example, I never judge my teammates in Engineers for Hope based on their academic performance.
Quoting the Goodwill Ambassador of HeForShe, Emma Watson.
One’s again. I am inviting you all to move forward, be proactive, to be the "he" for "she". And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?
One Fact: “Women continue to participate in labour markets on an unequal basis with men. In 2013, the male employment-to-population ratio stood at 72.2 per cent, while the ratio for females was 47.1 per cent.”
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