Montreal, QC, January 22, 2018 – The importance of increased participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers is well documented, yet, study after study depicts the disappointingly low rates of retention and access to leadership positions among women in the industry.

Our research from two previous studies on the subject (YES Gender-based analysis of Women in Tech and YES Needs Assessment for Women in STEM) shows that increasing the number and impact of women in STEM requires concerted efforts of our entire community —including government, SMEs, large corporations, and educational institutions.

On Monday, January 29th, YES will be hosting a Community Leaders Forum “Advancing Women in STEM” that will bring together over 50 STEM industry leaders, government officials, leading businesses, academics and HR specialists to discuss systemic issues that are hindering inclusivity and leadership opportunities for women in STEM and to develop policy recommendations which effectively address the challenges facing women in leadership.

Representatives from CAE, SAP Labs, IC Axon, G-Soft, eSignLive, Element AI, Ubisoft, Status of Women, and McGill University as well as other leading industry and community representatives will join the discussions. The strategic recommendations and solutions that will be identified at the forum will be shared at a national level through a Federal Pan Canadian network to advance gender equality. The Forum’s strategic recommendations will also be utilized by local pilot companies including CAE, eSignLive, G-Soft and IC Axon as they work to identify new internal initiatives and strategies to support women in their respective companies.

“Women will keep narrowing their choices in life based more upon what the circumstances they are exposed to, rather than their abilities to contribute,” says Elisabeth Laett, President and Executive Director of Xaphan Group, Board member at YES, Chair of the Advancing Women Advisory Committee, and the YES National representative to the Pan Canadian Network.” This initiative at YES, which is federally funded through the Status of Women Canada, could have a formidable impact on breaking down barriers as well as opening new opportunities for women to excel in the STEM industry.”

YES provides English-language support services to help Quebecers find employment and start businesses. ‘Advancing Women in STEM’ is the latest installment of YES’ commitment to support and empower women in STEM. In 2012, YES launched a ‘Women in Tech’ program to create awareness about the various career paths available for women in the tech sector. In 2015, a comprehensive mentorship toolkit was created to connect women in STEM with highly experienced mentors in the field.

More information about the ‘Advancing Women in STEM’ project and the mentorship toolkit, can be found at


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