Government of Canada launches interactive campaign to build network of mentors for young women in science

News Release

Tell us why you chose science

February 11, 2018 – Toronto, Ontario

A 13-year-old girl asks for a telescope for her birthday. A teenager beams with pride from winning her provincial algebra competition. A young woman is excited to choose biology as her major as she heads off to university.

We need to inspire young women and girls like these in order for our country to benefit from greater diversity and creativity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

To help build a network of role models and mentors for young women in science, Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary for Science and Member of Parliament for London West, on behalf of Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, launched the next phase of the Government of Canada’s “Choose Science” campaign. This edition of the online campaign encourages women in science to share their stories so that new generations of young women can learn from their experiences and aspire to a future in research.

The campaign was launched on the International Day for Women and Girls in Science during a panel discussion hosted at Facebook Canada and in partnership with Actua, a national charity that promotes science engagement to youth. The discussion featured leading Canadian women in science and technology, including Joelle Pineau, Director of the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab at McGill University; Amber Mac, a Toronto-based multimedia host and tech entrepreneur; and Jennifer Flanagan, President & CEO of Actua.

By celebrating the day, sharing their stories and expressing their passion for science, these women, along with the young students they addressed, not only established a network of new friends but also began to create a network that will inspire future female STEM leaders.


“I am proud of all the women and girls who want to make a difference in the world through science. It is our job to celebrate their accomplishments, nurture their desire to discover, and share their stories so that other young women and girls know a bright future in the sciences is within their reach. On this International Day for Women and Girls in Science, I wish them all the very best.”
– The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“I’m honoured to be here to mark this important day and hear from some of the incredible women who will fearlessly lead our country in the coming years. By inspiring women to choose a career in science, we will set Canada up for a better, brighter and more inclusive future.”
– Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary for Science

“Much the same way that it takes a village to raise a child, you need an entire community of supporters to champion the growing role of women in STEM and inspire the girls who will follow in their footsteps. I’ve been fortunate throughout my journey to have people who’ve been there to shine a light on what was possible, and I’m encouraged by initiatives like Choose Science that will motivate more women and girls to pursue education and careers in STEM.”
– Dr. Joelle Pineau, Director, FAIR (Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research) Montreal and Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar, McGill University

“Today is a great opportunity to highlight the many advances made by women and girls in STEM. We must continue to focus on evolving the narrative from how girls need to change to fit into STEM to how the context and culture must change to be more welcoming of girls’ and women’s critical perspectives.”
– Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO, Actua

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada launched the ChooseScience digital campaign in February 2017 to encourage more young women to consider a career in the STEM disciplines.

  • The first two phases of the Choose Science campaign have been very successful:

                       o   The digital ads have aired more than two million times and have reached some 520,000 Canadians, with 108,000 people reacting to, commenting on and sharing the ads.

                      o   A separate digital poster for teachers and parents promoting women in STEM and Indigenous engagement was downloaded more than 900 times.

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

Ann Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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