Making the impact: your journey towards gender diversity
By Anita Gara, Project Manager at Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC)
October marks Women’s History Month, the month we celebrate the outstanding achievements of women throughout Canada’s history. The theme for this year is #BecauseOfYou, honouring women and girls who have helped shape Canada into a flourishing, diverse and more equitable country. I’m grateful for the many women who blazed a trail for me, and I want to ensure we create a way forward for the women and girls of tomorrow.
We know diversity is the future, but diversity must be the now and the ever-present. Before the pandemic, there was already a chronic under-representation of diverse groups (including women) in Alberta and Canada’s electricity sector and beyond. Barriers to entry, advancement and retention in the workplace mean that women make up only around 26% of the workforce in Canada’s electricity sector. The economic and professional impacts of COVID-19 widen the gender gap and put women at increased risk for career setbacks; because of the pandemic, we are losing the progress we have made towards more equitable workplaces.
Electricity Human Resources Canada’s (EHRC) labour market intelligence for Alberta's energy sector, Workforce Transitions, identifies that only 20% of electricity industry employers surveyed have or are working to develop a formal diversity strategy. We need to do more to engage workers of varying cultures, abilities, and genders in the sector. Creating workplace environments that support and encourage diversity are critical to innovation and success.
Recent social movements, such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, have brought diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to the forefront of discussions for leaders and managers. At EHRC, we work with employers and other stakeholder groups to actively engage in building a workforce that is truly representative of Canada’s population, and it’s much more than just a matter of opening the doors to female employees.
DEI is an important focus at EHRC. We know that the sector is better when everyone can participate. To this end, we have many resources and supports available for you:
· The Leadership Accord on Gender Diversity is a public commitment by Canadian employers, educators, unions and governments to promote values of gender diversity and inclusion within their organizations.
· Illuminate Opportunity is a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind toolkit to support developing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices for employers. It guides employers through the process of applying a diversity and inclusion lens to attract a full range of qualified individuals.
· Leadershift: Pathways to Gender Equity is a report that explores the status of women’s representation in companies across Canada’s electricity sector, with a focus on the leadership level.
· Let’s Talk: Advancing Gender Equality is a webinar series on advancing gender equality in the workplace.
· Bridging the Gap is a report that highlights the barriers for women in electricity and identifies opportunities to overcome them and increase the attraction, recruitment, and retention of women.
· Connected Women is a national mentorship program that supports women in electricity who are either already working in technical or trades occupations or are preparing to enter the sector.
With our tools and programs, you can help change the face of Alberta’s energy workforce. From the boardroom to the frontlines, we must work together to advance gender equity. Wherever you and your organization are in the fight for equality, EHRC is here to support you. Please reach out to me any time at email@example.com to talk about how we can support you.
Anita Gara is the Project Manager at Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC), a non-profit organization supporting the human resources needs of the Canadian electricity and renewable energy sector.
Anita has a strong background in non-profits and research and a passion for making a difference with her work. Anita supports EHRC’s projects focusing on diversity & inclusion, helping all Canadians to participate in our economy. In addition to project management, Anita has years of experience in strategic development, stakeholder relations, communications, and public relations. Anita has been a member of Calgary Women in Energy since 2019
Outside of work, Anita enjoys painting, hiking in Alberta’s beautiful surroundings and spending time with her family.