DiversifySTEM Project Leader & Former President, Engineers Canada
A new app aimed at STEM managers and employers helps companies attract and retain talented female employees.
Women are significantly underrepresented in STEM careers, and workplace culture is partially to blame. Research by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) shows that one in two women in STEM feel disrespected by managers, co-workers, and clients; one in three experience pay inequity and have difficulty balancing work, family, and community; and one in four face discrimination, harassment, or bullying at work.
DiversifySTEM is a new microlearning app designed to help shift that culture. Led by OSPE and funded by the Government of Canada’s Department for Women and Gender Equality, it addresses barriers facing women in STEM.
“Diversity in STEM is important because it creates more creative, innovative, and competitive teams,” says Annette Bergeron, Past President of Engineers Canada and a Project Leader at DiversifySTEM. “Many STEM managers and CEOs realize that they want to have a more diverse workforce, but they’re very busy and don’t have time to attend a weeklong course on training and diversity. What we’ve developed are five-minute training modules. Everyone has five minutes.”
DiversifySTEM’s lessons cover a range of topics, including pay equity, harassment, discrimination, unconscious biases, flex work, and more.
Beyond education, the app provides actionable steps. “We’ve designed the tool to be engaging and interactive,” says Bergeron. “We give employers actions at the end of each lesson so they can move the needle on culture in their workplace.”
The microlessons can be viewed through the desktop version and synced to the iPhone or Android app. Content can be easily shared through social media to spread throughful information with the users networks.