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UW showcases gender equality efforts at UN event

Image from @UN_Women.

The University is Waterloo is one of 10 global institutions taking part in a massive UN Women event in New York City.

UW President Feridun Hamdullahpur says it’s all part of the HeForShe Impact 10x10x10 initiative.

“I’m one of the 10 University Presidents from around the world taking part– and the only Canadian University President who is part of this initiative. We work on a number of things, and each institution set specific goals to really move the entire mandate up, and see what we can learn from each other as we move forward.”

Hamdullahpur says part of the initiative was setting clear gender equality goals for 2020.

“In 2015, we set three goals. One is increasing outreach participation of young girls and women, in STEM experiences — we set a target of having 33 per cent female participation by 2020, and we have already reached and exceeded that target, as we stand at 35 per cent today,” said Hamdullahpur.

“Second was increasing female faculty members at the University. We needed to see this increase, and set a target, and we are currently very close — just about 0.5 per cent shy of our 2020 target. Thirdly, we looked at what kind of examples is our University setting .. and we’re pleased to say that last year, for senior administration positions, they were mostly filled by women.”

Hamdullahpur adds that they didn’t change any of their requirements in order to do that.

“We didn’t lower the bar, this was the same level of excellence that we always strive for. But this University is committed to inclusivity, and we will start with our campus to make our world a more equal place.”

Hamdullahpur says in addition to their HeForShe goals, UW is also seeing an increase in women engineers. For the first time ever, woman occupy 30 per cent of the first-year engineering students.