Government of Canada launches campaign to encourage young women to choose science

News Release

Campaign launch coincides with a star-studded celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science

February 11, 2017 – Toronto, Ontario – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Science Minister Kirsty Duncan marked the International Day of Women and Girls in Science by announcing the launch of an engaging national campaign to encourage young women to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The social media campaign and its accompanying website, which use the promotional tagline "Choose Science," give young women an opportunity to engage in the sciences. They also provide material—such as easy, home-based experiments and citizen science projects—that parents, teachers and mentors can use to support the women in their lives who see a future for themselves in research.

The Minister launched the campaign today during a panel discussion that included Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef; Jennifer Flanagan, CEO of Actua; Amanda Mason of Oculus; and Dr. Angela Schoellig of the University of Toronto. The lively discussion, hosted at Facebook Canada's headquarters and moderated by Erica Ehm, founder of the Yummy Mummy Club and former Much Music VJ, engaged girls across Canada, including those participating in the University of Toronto's Engineering Outreach program. The panelists delved into how to support more young girls and encourage them to choose a scientific career and how to foster a culture of curiosity in all Canadians.

When women, along with those who are otherwise under-represented in labs across the country, make the choice to join science, the overall research community will become a more inclusive and welcoming place to be. Increasing the diversity of talented people fuelling Canada's future will enhance the richness of discoveries and innovations that support a strong middle class and those working hard to join it.


"On this year's International Day of Women and Girls in Science, I want to encourage girls and young women to choose science—because choosing science helps to create a culture of curiosity. By asking questions and exploring all opportunities, our young women will be on a road to making discoveries that will change Canada and the world for the better."

– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science 

"I'm delighted to participate in this exciting event that is all about inspiring women and girls to see the tremendous opportunities that exist in all of the STEM fields. The United Nations created this day to underscore how the full participation of women and girls in the fields of science, technology and innovation is ‎so important to achieving gender equality."

– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women

"Many of the barriers girls and women face in STEM can be broken down through positive action. This means engaging girls in STEM early and often through as many channels as possible—both inside and outside school. It will take an attitudinal shift among parents, educators and employers, but it can be done."

– Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO, Actua

"Inspiring a passion for science and technology among young women is vital to ensuring the world does not miss out on their great ideas. We must prepare and support women and girls to be innovators and leaders in STEM, which is why we are excited to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Actua and some of Canada's top female scientists."

– Kevin Chan, Head of Public Policy, Facebook Canada

Quick Facts

  • According to the United Nations, female students are significantly less likely to graduate with a degree in the sciences than their male counterparts. In 1987, only 20 percent of those working in the sciences were women. Today, that number is still only 22 percent, despite an increase in the number of women graduating with STEM degrees.

  • The Government of Canada is helping employers create more experiential learning placements in STEM fields, providing new opportunities for youth, including young women and Indigenous peoples.

  • The United Nations first commemorated “International Day of Women and Girls in Science” on February 11, 2016. By marking this day, member states demonstrate their continuing resolve and commitment to eliminate gender inequality in science employment, opportunities and education.

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Associated Links


Follow Minister Duncan on social media.
Twitter: @ScienceMin
Instagram: sciencemin

Stefanie Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and
Economic Development Canada

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