Recently announced, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) became the third financial institution to sponsor the non-profit Canadian Women in Information Technology (CanWIT), an organization dedicated to promoting young women in tech-based roles. Through this agreement, each organization will contribute resources to develop mutual talent initiatives, including national advocacy programs, workshops and networking sessions. Other sponsors behind this initiative include TD Bank, CIBC, Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Cisco Systems Canada.
As we’ve discussed in other posts, government job surveys estimate that there are 5,400 women working IT in Canada, just shy of 24% of the workforce. On a larger scale, however, women comprise 47% of the nation’s job market. Compared to this ratio, the tech sector has room to improve. Furthermore, these ratios are more acutely skewed on corporate boards and for managerial positions, another issue tackled by CanWIT.
Founded in 2005 as a branch of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA), CanWIT is a volunteer-run organization that recruits and mentors young women in the ICT sector through national programs year-round. Those interested in getting involved should explore the membership and event opportunities posted online. Currently, the Toronto chapter intends to launch a series of month and bi-monthly lunch-and-learns, workshops, networking forums and mentoring sessions. These will be announced later in the year.
Sara Kirke Award
Each year, the Sara Kirke Award goes to women who’ve demonstrated entrepreneurship and innovation within the technology sector. As outlined by CanWIT, this award celebrates large achievements to create positive role models within the community, ultimately fostering a likeness in spirit among female workers across the nation.