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Daily Media Report recap for August 16-September 5

  • The collapse of an Italian bridge, a new report on the Mount Polley tailings dam breach, and two articles about the smaller numbers of women in STEM fields were amongst the most popular content from the Media Monitor from the past few weeks.
  • Morandi Bridge collapse: Initial reporting of the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy, on August 14, led to more questions about why the bridge had not been closed months earlier when an engineering report found that corrosion of the bridge’s metal cables had weakened its strength by 20 per cent. Reporting of the Italian bridge collapse also raised questions in the Quebec media about the state of the province’s bridge infrastructure.
  • Mount Polley tailings dam breach: A new report published jointly by the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Wilderness Committee, and the Brazil-based PoEMAS, states that British Columbia’s political context played an important role in the Mount Polley tailings dam breach. It argues that decades of lobbying and pressure from the mining industry had wrestled power away from the provincial government to regulate the sector.
  • Women in engineering: This article from Quartz Africa took issue with recent comments from the CEO of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering, which implied that women are underrepresented in STEM fields because they choose to care for their children rather than take on the heavy workloads that a STEM career requires. Similarly, this opinion piece from a Maclean’s editor-at-large cited research that seemed to imply that in Nordic countries, the gender pay gap is the result of freely-made choices of Nordic women, who prefer to work less than men for various reasons. But as the Quartz article points out, findings from other research have shown that it is workplace barriers—and not a lack of ambition or biological differences—that lead to the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields like engineering.
  • Bonus read: This article from Science magazine raises some interesting questions about the effectiveness of STEM camps in helping to get kids and youth—and especially girls—interested in engineering and other STEM fields.

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