Monday, March 8 kicks off the second week of National Engineering Month 2021, and also marks International Women’s Day.
Monday, March 8 kicks off the second week of National Engineering Month 2021, and also marks International Women’s Day. During this second week of Canada’s largest celebration of engineering, we’re placing a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering.
National Engineering Month’s theme—There’s a place for you—speaks to the diversity of thought, opportunities, and people that make up the engineering profession. During the month, the engineering profession reaches out to children and youth with activities and events designed to spark their interest in engineering and to demonstrate that with the wide range of disciplines and opportunities, there’s a place for everyone in engineering.
Engineers Canada works to ensure that the engineering profession is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and representative of the public that it serves. But we recognize that the profession is not there yet, and that there is still much work to be done to improve the participation of underrepresented groups within engineering, including women, Indigenous people, people of colour, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, and persons who have visible or invisible disabilities.
This work involves the entire engineering profession—from organizations and engineering companies, to higher education institutions, and individual engineers. As we focus on EDI during the second week of National Engineering Month, share the engineering activities and events with the girls and young women in your life to spark their imagination about what is possible with engineering. And take to social media (#NEM2021, #NEGM2021) to share how you and/or your organization are helping to shape the future of the profession and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering.
As the engineering community hosts activities and events this month that are meant to inspire the next generation of engineers, we also invite a dialogue around how engineering is promoted and taught. In order for underrepresented groups to see themselves in engineering, we have to actively address biases, stereotypes, and discrimination when they show up in our programs, and highlight the accomplishments of diverse engineers.
The theme of International Women’s Day this year is #ChooseToChallenge, which calls on people around the world to commit to challenging inequality, calling out biases, questioning stereotypes, and helping forge an inclusive world. Engineers Canada’s recently released 30 by 30 K-12 Outreach Guide provides a resource for engineering outreach programs to evaluate how well they are challenging negative stereotypes and outdated perceptions of engineering.
Developed in collaboration with engineering outreach experts within the 30 by 30 Champions network, the guide is a starting point that these programs can use to evaluate, build on their current strengths, and challenge themselves to make improvements in diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. It provides evaluation rubrics in six key areas, including breaking societal stereotypes, influencing the influencers, perception of engineering, interactivity of the program, participant equity, and pathway to licensure.
As the engineering community celebrates National Engineering Month and places a focus on outreach to children and youth, March is a great time to challenge ourselves and consider how we can promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering. As the engineering community aims to spark an interest in the next generation of engineers, we want to ensure that there’s a place for everyone in the future of the profession.
How do you promote EDI in engineering? Join the National Engineering Month celebrations on social media at #NEM2021 or #NEGM2021 and share the work that you or your organization is doing to advance EDI in engineering.