Government of Canada helps to improve women’s economic participation in male-dominated industries

News release

May 9, 2024 – Ottawa, Ontario — Women and Gender Equality Canada 

With the evolving employment landscape, it is unacceptable that there continues to be male dominated industries. This includes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) the construction and manufacturing fields. Women and gender-diverse people continue to experience barriers to entering the industry of their choice.  When provided with opportunities, women bring unique perspectives, skills, and talents that are invaluable to driving innovation and progress in all fields.

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced $924,370 over two and a half years to Build a Dream to Empower Women (Build a Dream) for their project Supporting Women’s Access to Employment, Retention, Advancement in Male Dominated Fields. This funding addresses women's systemic barriers to job retention and representation in male-dominated fields.

Build a Dream will offer career development opportunities by connecting industry collaborators, students, and job seekers through virtual conferences, career discovery exhibitions, workshops, and hands-on learning programs. Build a Dream will also work with industry partners to create more inclusive work environments for women and develop mentorship programs that support current women employees for their advancement.

Through the Women’s Program, the Government of Canada will continue to collaborate with women’s organizations to support initiatives that advance gender equality and women’s economic prosperity. Breaking down barriers and creating inclusive environments expands opportunities for women and unlocks the full potential of Canada's workforce.


“When we increase involvement and open the doors so that everyone is able to participate, we are challenging gender stereotypes. When we encourage women and gender-diverse communities to take part in non-traditional industries, we are investing in our economy. This investment in resources isn’t just about equality—it's about leveraging untapped potential to amplify productivity, drive inclusive growth, and forge a path towards a more equitable future for all Canadians.”

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

"Build a Dream is committed to dismantling systemic barriers for women in male-dominated fields and promoting equity across workplaces nationwide. Through this funding, we will conduct industry assessments which will lay the groundwork for tailored strategies to drive positive change. We will establish a robust mentorship program that will provide vital support networks and foster a sense of belonging for women in the trades. Together, we are shaping a future where every woman can thrive in her chosen profession, and where diversity is not just embraced, but celebrated."

Nour Hachem, President and Founder, Build A Dream

Quick facts

  • In 2021, while women accounted for 31% of STEM postsecondary qualification holders aged 25-65, they accounted for only 21% of those working in STEM occupations. 

  • In 2021, women held 24% of energy sector jobs and based on average hourly wages, earned 85 cents for every dollar earned by men. 

  • Since November 2015, Women and Gender Equality Canada has invested $29.8M in 64 projects to advance women’s participation in non-traditional professions in which they are underrepresented, including in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).   

  • Budget 2023 allocated $160 million over three years, starting in 2023-24, for the Women’s Program to provide funding to organizations in Canada that serve women. 

  • To support women in the skilled trades and equality in STEM:

    • Budget 2022 included $84.2M over 4 years to double funding for the Union Training and Innovation Program to help underrepresented apprentices begin and succeed in skilled trade careers (led by Employment and Social Development Canada).

Associated links


Nanki Singh
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada

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