Polytechnique Montréal has achieved an important milestone: for the first time in its history, more than 30 per cent of their undergraduate engineering graduates are women this year.
Thirty per cent is universally held to be the tipping point for sustainable change and is the goal of the Engineers Canada’s 30 by 30 program, which aims to achieve 30 per cent newly licensed engineers who are women by 2030. Women currently account for 17.9 per cent of newly licensed engineers, and 14 per cent of engineers overall in Canada. Reaching 30 per cent women will help drive a lasting shift in the overall membership of the engineering profession and establish it as a truly welcoming profession for all.
Polytechnique Montréal’s achievement of 30 per cent women graduates this year is an important marker on the path to achieving 30 by 30 across Canada and across the profession.
"We believe it's essential for women to take their rightful place in engineering to contribute to the development and deployment of sustainable solutions to meet the challenges of our time,” said Philippe A. Tanguy, President of Polytechnique Montréal. “If a lack of female role models can explain this representation gap, the growing number of women graduates will help attract more young women to this career path.”
Polytechnique Montréal’s success in achieving this milestone is the result of sustained efforts over the past two decades. For more than 20 years, Polytechnique has collaborated with stakeholders in the field, governments, and generous donors, to extend the reach of awareness-raising initiatives that promote science and engineering. These initiatives include classroom activities, as well as science camps, mentoring programs, contests, workshops, lectures, scholarships, and profiles that highlight inspiring women role models actively achieving in careers in technology.
Polytechnique Montréal also increased the hiring of female professors, created new programs (such as the bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering), and all programs have increasingly adopted a sustainable engineering approach—an approach that the institution says resonates with women, where they feel they’ll be able to acquire key skills to meet modern challenges.
The Quebec engineering regulator congratulated Polytechnique Montréal on achieving this important milestone.
“To fully serve the common good, engineering must rely on all available talent,” said Kathy Baig, President of Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec and herself a Polytechnique Montréal graduate. “Increased women's representation within the profession is essential to achieve this. As a partner of the 30 in 30 Initiative, the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec congratulates Polytechnique Montréal in reaching this important milestone in engineering's journey towards a more diversified and inclusive profession.”
Jean Boudreau, then-president of Engineers Canada when Polytechnique Montréal announced this achievement, echoed these congratulations.
“Congratulations to the students, faculty, and staff of Polytechnique Montréal on this historic achievement. Post-secondary institutions play an integral role in improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering and helping us achieve “30 by 30”. We're encouraged by Polytechnique's impact in advancing gender equity and we are keen to learn from their example.”