Bonhill Group’s Information Age and DiversityQ welcome you to the Women in IT Virtual Summit, Canada.
Canada’s technology sector will play a major role in future economic growth and prosperity. However, despite its size and steady growth, Canada’s technology sector has a disappointing track record on workforce inclusion. Research by the Brookfield Institute reveals substantial gaps in terms of who works in, who benefits from and who makes decisions in the tech sector. Women are almost four times less likely to be employed in the sector than men and earn on average $7,300 less than men in technology jobs, even though they are more likely to have a university degree.
This year has been particularly difficult, as the covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the business landscape and brought forth a series of challenges. Yet, the pandemic has also brought to light some of the biggest areas of opportunities for organisations – digital transformation, tech and mental health, diversity, equality and inclusion. We need to remain focused on our mission and continue proving that full and equal participation of women and diverse groups in the economy is not just the right thing to do; it's also good for the bottom line. This is clear and supported by the Government of Canada (2020) as studies show that by advancing gender equality and women's participation in the economy, Canada could add up to $150 billion in GDP.
It is promising to see that Canada’s tech sector is more diverse than other sectors. Overall, 7.6% of all visible minority workers are employed in tech occupations, versus 4.4% of non-visible minority workers; those who identify as Filipino or Black have slightly lower participation rates, at 3.4 and 4.27 percent, respectively. And while Canada’s tech workers earn more than non-tech workers, current levels of exclusion, disempowerment and inequality within the sector undermine both fairness and innovation performance. Canada’s technology sector workforce does not fully reflect the country’s diversity. We can certainly do better!
The need for change in tech has only been heightened due to the pandemic – professionals need to be more involved in setting examples and establishing the right company cultures and processes NOW. Let us not let our ‘crisis mode’ cause even the most intentional and well-meaning leaders to fall into patterns of bias and exclusion.
This year's virtual summit will facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration and networking that will focus on the themes mentioned above. With the help and support of our key regional experts, we will address topics such as responsible tech, using AI ethically, tech and mental health; continuous learning, leadership and much more. Come and expand your knowledge and “toolbox” with actionable tips on how to help with day-to-day struggles, thinking ahead, supporting your teams better, and how to present yourself as the role model in the industry.
We look forward to seeing you in October!