Since 2013, Engineers and Geoscientists BC has been working towards the national goal of 30 by 30—an Engineers Canada initiative to raise the percentage of newly-licensed female engineers to 30% by 2030. Diversity is a major area of focus for the organization; it’s also been a key part of its strategic plan since 2014, expanding last year to also include strategies that consider how to meaningfully engage with Indigenous communities.
But with new legislation and new regulatory requirements introduced under the Professional Governance Act, Engineers and Geoscientists BC has had fewer resources to dedicate to its diversity initiatives overall. To reignite progress, the organization has added a new part-time staff person with deep expertise in diversity in applied science professions. It is also re-examining its diversity plan and approach, and is focusing its efforts where it feels it can be most effective and have the best chance of success.
This week, Engineers and Geoscientists BC communicated with project partners that it would be exiting the Advancing Women in Engineering and Technology (AWET) project in favour of focusing its limited resources on meeting the association’s diversity goals and 30 by 30 targets. The AWET project was initiated in May 2019, and will now be delivered by the Association of Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC (ASTTBC).
“Unfortunately, as passionate as we are about this project, our resources are limited and we need to be extremely targeted,” said Ann English, P.Eng., Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s CEO and Registrar. “Over the past year, we have found that we have not been able to advance on our 30 by 30 targets, nor have we been able to make the progress we hoped to on Indigenous engagement.”
Moving forward, Engineers and Geoscientists BC plans to focus on reorienting its post-secondary outreach program to better support diversity and inclusion, and accelerating its work on Indigenous engagement, building on the organization’s review of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. This includes building new modules for Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s mandatory online ethics course, with significant emphasis on gender and indigenous inclusion.
Though the decision to withdraw from the AWET project was a challenging one, Engineers and Geoscientists BC remains committed to supporting the project by signing on as a Champion, promoting project events, and supporting a planned project survey.
While the project partnership with ASTTBC will be coming to an end, the two organizations share a common goal of increased diversity and inclusion within applied science, and will continue to collaborate with each other and other industry partners on efforts that will advance this objective.
To learn more about the AWET project, visit womeninengtech.ca.