A new report released by Ryerson University this week says Canada urgently has to figure out how to foster diversity — whether that’s based on gender, race or physical ability — in STEM ( an acronym for science, technology, mathematics and engineering) .
It warns of negative consequences for productivity, economic growth, prosperity and our ability to compete globally. In short, the reports says, increasing diversity in these fields benefits everyone.
To avoid missing out, the report recommends changing perceptions and challenging stereotypes within STEM-based professions — what Imogen Coe, dean of Ryerson’s faculty of science describes as “bro culture.”
Ana Sofia Barrows graduated with a degree in medical physics, and the 24-year-old works in the science field.Yet she’s been told, on more than one occasion, that she doesn’t look like a scientist.She says someone once told her that she looks like someone who should be working in fashion or communications.
She says, “Those stereotypes should not exist.Those comments are not very appreciated because why would scientists look different than anyone else?”
Coe, who spearheaded the report says Workshops for women in STEM and science camps for girls won’t change participation rates of women unless the culture and workplace also increase accessibility by removing systemic barriers and bringing in accountability and consequences.”