Women's History Month (3 of 5): Dr. Donna Kirkwood

Dr. Donna Kirkwood explains how she left the academic sector to share her knowledge and skills to become the first Director of the Geological Survey of Canada – the country's oldest scientific agency and one of its first government organizations – and how she supports girls in science.

Women's History Month (3 of 5): Dr. Donna Kirkwood

Women's History Month

"I am a believer in women, in their ability to do things and in their influence and power. Women set the standards for the world, and it is for us, women in Canada, to set the standards high."

Nellie McClung, Member of the Famous Five

I'm Donna Kirkwood. I'm Director General of the Geological Survey of Canada.

On screen: Dr. Donna Kirkwood, Director General of the Geological Survey of Canada

The Geological Survey of Canada was founded in 1842, so almost 175 years now. Why is it that I am the first female Director General of the Survey? I guess it's probably the same reason as for the other non-traditional areas for women. It's just a question I guess of numbers to start off with. Very few women were into the geosciences in the earlier years.

" I must say that in my experience since I've been in geology, women tend to, as they acquire more experience in geology, to move more into lab work or into work that doesn't require them to work in the field in remote regions."

I've only come to realize recently the importance of role models and how my career path is actually an excellent career path that I could convey to women in science.

My support of women in the sciences is based on the fact that as I've moved on in my career, I've come to realize that women bring a completely different perspective to sciences. Women as we all know are very creative. They're able to encompass and to bring to a situation all the different facts and consider all the different angles of a question, of a perspective.

If you do have a passion for the sciences, I would encourage young women to pursue that passion and to go down that route, and to do what they like the most in life and that's the best way to be successful and to achieve our goals.

Special thanks to
Dr. Donna Kirkwood

For their gracious collaboration, thank you to
Natural Resources Canada
Canadian Museum of Nature
Parks Canada

Photo credits
Parks Canada


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