Young girl advocates for women in STEM

Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
Photo from Go ENG Girl, 2011. Go ENG Girl is an exciting province-wide opportunity for Grade 7-10 girls to visit their local university to learn from women professionals, academics and students about the wonderful world of engineering.


Last week, a 9-year old girl in northern Ontario tried to register for an introductory robotics class at Timmins Public Library. Initially, Cash Cayen was informed that the course was intended for boys only.

Cash decided to create a petition on to have the library class open to all children, which has now received almost 35,000 signatures of support, not to mention much media attention and encouragement from those working in various science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The library has since apologized and opened up the summer program to all children from 9 to 12 years of age.

OSPE would like to applaud Cash for having the courage to push back and stand up for other children in her community and across Ontario who are passionate about science and engineering.

In an interview with CBC Sudbury’s Up North radio program, Cash’s mother Caroline Martel talked about how Ontarians can help address this issue.

“We as a society need to send our girls messages of support and encouragement.

I think that everyone should be empowered and encouraged to learn about and join the STEM fields – especially girls,” Martel said.

Through OSPE’s Women in Engineering Advisory Committee (WEAC), OSPE encourages more women to study engineering, consider engineering as a career, and take on leadership positions in the engineering profession.

As a recent OSPE report found, only 22% of women with engineering degrees actually worked as engineers or engineering managers.

How can we encourage more women to join and remain in the STEM sector? Why do you think it’s important?


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sylvie Gagne

    In response to the question “How can we encourage women to join and stay in STEM?” I think that we should reach out to all those women who have left and send them a questionnaire to find out why they left. All of us still in STEM work know university classmates and past colleagues who have left, often for lower pay or simply because they never got that all important first job. I know two engineers who are teaching at the elementary and high school levels… We need to find the root cause(s) and address it. It’s important because as a society we keep repeating the same mistakes… We are not getting to the root of the problem.

    1. Staff

      Thanks very much for your feedback. OPSE agrees that this is an important issue and we are committed to finding out more. OSPE recognizes the value that mentors can play in helping recent engineering graduates gain the information and guidance they need to build their career, obtain their license, and remain in their field of study. OSPE is beginning work on a federally funded, two-year Pilot Mentorship Program to help young women (and men) in the early stages of their careers. Our Engineering Employment Events (E3s), workshops, and job board are also great resources for engineers at all stages of their careers.

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.