Next generation of women in science and technology celebrated on International Women's Day

News release

Canada’s Science Minister recognizes the accomplishments of young women in science and technology at Humber College

March 8, 2018 – Toronto, Ontario

When she was a young researcher, Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, faced incredible odds. She was paid a fraction of the wages that her male colleagues received, was asked whether she wanted to be a scientist or a woman, and was once confronted with the question of when she intended on getting pregnant. Minister Duncan then made history by leading a research expedition of 17 renowned male scientists in search of the cause of the Spanish Flu.

The lessons learned from her long career as a researcher have informed the Minister’s actions to advance the status of women in the sciences—from the natural and health sciences to engineering and the social sciences and humanities.

It was these lessons Minister Duncan brought to female students, faculty and staff at Humber College today, International Women’s Day. During a luncheon address, the Minister also highlighted the government’s efforts to increase equity and diversity in the classroom, the boardroom and the lab. For example, Budget 2018 is providing support to address the gender wage gap through pay equity legislation to ensure that women working in federally regulated sectors receive equal pay for equal work.

Budget 2018 also announced that the Government will now require federal granting councils, the research funding agencies that promote and support post-secondary research, to put forward new plans and targets to ensure greater diversity among research funding recipients, including greater support for women, minorities and under-represented groups.

It is the Minister’s and the Government’s belief that by improving the participation of young women and girls in the sciences, we will enhance the diversity of talented and innovative people who fuel Canada’s future.


“I applaud all of the remarkable women at Humber College who are proving that women have a place in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Their drive to discover, innovate, and share their unique perspectives helps strengthen our outstanding research community. Our government is proud of their accomplishments and is working hard to advance equity and diversity throughout Canada because we understand that our future will be brighter when all people, including women, are empowered to fulfil their greatest ambitions.”

 – The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

“Today, Minister Duncan had the chance to see first-hand the notable achievements of Humber female students and staff. In her interactions with students in Humber’s engineering, technology and media programs and with players from Humber’s record-winning women’s basketball team, she inspired our community with her commitment to supporting women in academia and sport.”

– Dr. Chris Whitaker, President and CEO, Humber College

Quick facts

  • Led by the United Nations, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.

  • In addition to engaging young women in technology, Minister Duncan met members of the Humber Hawks women’s basketball team. The team recently won its fourth consecutive Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) championship and has won 81 straight OCAA games.


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

Ann Marie Paquet
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science

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