Women’s History Month

by julia.hanigsberg | October 7th, 2013

Women's History Month Launch - Julia with group -I was embarrassed to admit I didn’t know that October is Women’s History Month until I was asked to MC an event put on by Status of Women Canada on October 1st. How could I not know that there was such a thing as Women’s History Month and that it falls every October? At the event I and a number of Ryerson students, faculty and staff were thrilled to meet Canadian astronaut and hero Dr. Roberta Bondar along with federal cabinet Minister (and accomplished orthopedic surgeon) Kelly Leitch. There was a whole lot of women power in that room! Together we launched the Federal Government’s Women’s History Month web site and theme: Canadian Women Pioneers: Inspiring Change Through Ongoing Leadership.

Talk About It

So, just in case I’m not the only one, here’s a call to action: Tell everyone you know! Women’s History Month is a great excuse to talk about women’s accomplishments. And if you need some inspiration, check out the women being profiled each day of the month on the Status of Women website. Dr. Roberta Bondar neurologist, astronaut, environmentalist, photographer is the first to be profiled. Dr. Bondar has a special Ryerson connection as she was a Senior Fellow in the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science in the early 1990s. A flag bearing the Ryerson crest was carried on the Space Shuttle Columbia commemorating Ryerson’s research collaboration with Dr. Bondar.  It’s hard to believe her historic flight into outer space took place 21 years ago. She teaches us the stars are not the limit!

Celebrate Women and Girls

Take this month as a special opportunity to celebrate those women and girls who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in Canada and beyond. I’m proud to have started Ryerson’s Women’s Leadership Forum with Dr. Carla Cassidy. The initiative is now co-led with my colleague and Ryerson’s Vice President Research and Innovation Dr. Wendy Cukier (a 2013 Top 25 Woman of Influence in her own right). Women in Leadership is a way to promote leadership among Ryerson’s female faculty and staff.

Our female students show their endless leadership capacity from elected office (eg the Presidents of the Ryerson Students Union and the Ryerson Engineering Students Society are both women) to clubs and groups and advocacy (eg the Ted Rogers School of Management undergraduate Women in Leadership Group, Women in Computer Science, Women in Information Technology Management, the Centre for Women and Trans People and many more!) to building startups in the Ryerson Digital Media Zone (eg Ping Pong Story, Greengage Mobile, Mejuri).

 Pay it Forward

This is also a great month to seek out the women and girls around you and demonstrate your leadership by promoting opportunities for them to fulfill their full potential. This is what we strive to do every day at Ryerson University where diversity, equity and inclusion are values central to who we are and where giving young people the tools to change the world is what we do.


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