International Women's Day
Ottawa, March 8, 2016—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, made the following statement marking International Women's Day:
"Today, people around the world are celebrating International Women's Day. This very special day is an opportunity to recognize the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, as well as raise awareness about increased gender parity worldwide.
"Enabling women and girls to freely choose their path is essential to gender equality. As a woman and a scientist, I feel very strongly about women and girls pursuing studies in STEM: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As the Minister of Science, I consider it part of my duty to encourage young women to enter careers in these fields.
"In Canada, we are fortunate enough to live in a society that champions and advocates for gender equality. Recently, Dr. Victoria Kaspi, a professor at McGill University and the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics, made national headlines as the recipient of Canada's top science prize. Her achievement is monumental: she is the first woman to be awarded the Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. As a young girl, Dr. Kaspi was fascinated by the night sky and, ultimately, turned her passion into a career researching the extreme physics of neutron stars, the smallest and densest type of star in the known universe. Today, her work remains a source of inspiration for future scientists and young minds alike.
"But women continue to face significant challenges in pursuing careers in science and remain less likely than men to study STEM in school. Barriers include wilful discrimination, undue bias, lack of resources and gender stereotyping. This is something we must work to amend. It is my sincere hope that together we can inspire the next generation of stargazers like Dr. Kaspi to pursue careers in science.
"I invite all Canadians to join me in celebrating this important day. Let us continue to work toward gender equality in science, in our society and around the world."
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