About the Project - Advancing Women in STEM

In collaboration with industry and community leaders, YES is leading the ‘Advancing Women in STEM’ initiative to address and identify systemic solutions to a number of challenges compromising women’s retention and access to leadership positions within the STEM industry.

Advancing Women in STEM aims to:

  • Increase the understanding of systems and institutional practices in the corporate culture that affect women
  • Provide access to strategies, tools and frameworks that harness gender-inclusive workplace environments
  • Support a team of “change agents” within select pilot companies as they create internal initiatives to support female employees, and influence organizational structures that hinder inclusivity and equal access to opportunity

One of the milestones in the initiative’s life is a Community Leaders Forum that took place at SAP Labs on January 29, 2018. The Forum brought over 60 leaders from the STEM, business, legal and academic sectors for in-depth discussions and identification of policy recommendations and solutions to a number of persisting challenges facing women’s advancement in the STEM industry. The Forum’s recommendations are currently utilized by three pioneering companies in Montreal including IC Axon, G-Soft and OneSpan as they identify internal initiatives to support and empower female employees in their respective companies.

The Advancing Women in STEM findings and tools including the Forum’s strategic recommendations and solutions will be shared with the STEM industry at large through a newly found online platform, and will also be disseminated at a national level through a Federal Pan Canadian Network to advance gender equality.

The ‘Advancing Women in STEM’ is guided by an advisory committee that consists of 14 outstanding female leaders.

History

YES has a vibrant history of supporting women in business. We continually develop innovative programming to support women in STEM industries and entrepreneurship.

  • 2017-2020
    Advancing Women in STEM pilot project launched to recommend and test solutions to barriers like conscious and unconscious bias against women in STEM, top-down systems of advancement, the industry environment, and an unclear path to leadership
    28 Recommendations Created
    230+ Women Employees Affected by Piloted Solutions in 3 Companies
    200+ Resources on yesadvancingwomen.com Website
  • 2015-2017
    Advancing Women in STEM through Mentorship program initiated to increase the percentage of women staying and advancing in STEM careers through mentorship
    350 Women Engaged Through Research
    165 Networking Event Attendees
    67 Participants Engaged as Partners
  • 2012-2015
    Women in Technology project launched to encourage and support women entering tech careers or developing tech-related business start-ups through networking, mentoring, partnering and professional development
    1,074 Women Research Participants
    1,141 Women Participants of Tech-focused Workshops and Events
    50+ Women Role Models Recruited and 10 Women Interns Placed in Tech Companies

A word from Aki P. Tchitacov, Executive Director of YES

As a non-profit organization that helps Quebecers find employment and grow businesses, we are proud to launch the Advancing Systemic Change: Women in STEM website. It marks another goal achieved in our ground-breaking work over the past seven years to open doors for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).

As is the case in much of what we do at YES, Advancing is the culmination of prior achievements in the field and talent, know-how and a sense of community service on the part of our diverse team, both inside and outside our center.

A successful practice of coaching, counselling, program development and ardent networking enabled us to deliver on our Women in Tech project from 2012 to 2015. Through complementary services such as coaching, need-specific workshops, panel discussions, mentorships, internships and even a start-up grant kindly donated by our longtime supporter, SAP Labs Canada, we outreached to 1000 women, positioning them to succeed in their STEM journeys. Furthermore, a research component and a ‘Gender Based Analysis of the Montreal Tech Sector’ were undertaken.

Next, we successfully completed Advancing Women in STEM Through Mentorship where we partnered with three companies (IC Axon, G-Soft and OneSpan) to test a new tool and mentorship model embracing best practices and bringing know-how to smaller organizations without the resources and experience to bring in their own mentorship program.

The cumulative success of these projects strengthened our know-how and ability to mobilize a wide range of stakeholders in the cause of bringing about systemic change that offers women more opportunities to succeed in STEM. Advancing Systemic Change: Women in STEM is a multifaceted project reaching out to community leaders to determine priorities and best practices, bringing together leaders from different sectors in an Advisory Committee and working with pilot companies and their subcommittees tasked with devising strategies, setting goals and deploying tools for promoting their female staff in STEM. This is the testing ground for a new industry-wide framework for opening STEM doors to women in Montreal, Quebec and even Canada through our membership in the Pan-Canadian Women Leaders Network that has brought together 150 women leaders to lead systemic change on a national, macro level.

This website is a key tool for knowledge-sharing in the greater STEM community. It encapsulates our collective learning over these last six years of mobilizing, researching, testing and, most of all, listening to some of our most insightful voices in the sector. As such it is an influential platform featuring best practices for promoting gender equality in the workplace and resources for recruiting, retaining and promoting women.

I believe we are in a strong position to cross the finish-line of gender equality and the promotion of women in our economy’s vital technology ecosystem.

Advisory Committee

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