As we draw to the end of March, we also come to the end of Women’s History Month in the US (which influences our Canadian awareness!), UK and Australia. As you know, March 8 was International Women’s Day and is celebrated with various themes around the world. Interestingly, in Canada, the government has designated October as Women’s History month, so we will get to celebrate women all over again in just over 6 months! Regardless of dates, taking time to focus on women’s accomplishments, impact, contributions, and history reminds us we have come so far, and we still have far to go as the Canadian Department of Finance Task Force on Women in the Economy demonstrates.
Over the past year, @McMasterIT highlighted McMaster #WomenInTech Changemakers, discovering diversity in the women and their journeys. We wrapped up the year-long series at the IT Forum, with a panel discussion facilitated by Gartner’s Ms. Debra Christmas, who helped our #MWiT Changemakers delve into their areas of accomplishment and interest, reminding us how important a supportive equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) environment is, and how it is transforming the higher ed tech landscape. I have communicated broadly my admiration of and appreciation for various women who have inspired me. And the McMaster Women in Tech (MWiT) initiative was a particular passion project of mine. If you haven’t yet checked out the MWiT Panel event with Ms. Debra Christmas and a few of our amazing MWiT Changemakers, check it out here. It’s well worth the watch.
My professional involvement in EDUCAUSE over many years has helped influence my perspective on EDI. EDUCAUSE is an international organization where Higher Ed IT and Library peers from US, Canadian and international institutions come together to learn and advance our sector and our work. There is an annual conference (like others, this year and last year online) and multiple annual meetings and professional development programs where EDI has grown in content and commitment. I was a faculty member for the Management Institute in 2020 and EDI is a core element in the program.
In 2018, The EDUCAUSE Board and the EDUCUASE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force developed a CIO Commitment Statement that would purposefully encourage leaders across Higher Ed IT to “foster greater diversity in our field”. The CIO Commitment is a professional commitment to being more aware, working to enhance EDI opportunities, and advancing and supporting programs that support and grow EDI practices. I signed the commitment, along with 580 other CIOs from across our sector.
The importance of intentional commitments like this is that it spurs us to action. The McMaster Women in Tech Changemaker series was an intentional action to fulfill this commitment. Being able to write a blog on this topic is another example. Supporting and mentoring women and men, ensuring fair hiring practices, encouraging others’ actions like the UTS EDI committee and EDI Film Festival – these are all examples of how I am being intentional and making good on my commitment. I know that I have both the privilege and responsibility to do so.
To learn more about McMaster’s commitments to EDI and how you can play a role, please take time to visit the Equity and Inclusion office website and learn about our campus EDI strategy. You can also learn about the President’s institutional EDI goals.
As I reflect on this past month, International Women’s Day, and a focus on EDI, I choose to keep gratitude front and centre. I am grateful for our McMaster community which is committed to learning, change and growth and where we are striving to make equity, diversity and inclusion part of the fabric of our everyday activities.
Have a great week!