Thursday, September 7, 2017

Universities prepare for new equity guidelines for Canada Research Chairs - UNIVERSITY AFFAIRS

Originally published: September 5, 2017

While checking Twitter one day this past July, Danika Goosney came across a story that reminded her why equity policies exist in academia. A Toronto-based health researcher had reached out to the organizers of a large international conference to ask about bringing her breastfeeding newborn to the event. Their response: Sorry, no kids under 18 allowed.

“That’s a very basic thing that she should be allowed to do,” Dr. Goosney said. “Ironically, the conference was on human reproduction and fertility.”

For Dr. Goosney, the slight against the researcher reflects a wider bias against women in the workplace and serves as an example of the barriers to advancement women and other historically marginalized groups in academia experience throughout their careers. It’s because of these persistent challenges that the Canada Research Chairs program – one of the most important faculty recruiting tools for Canada’s university sector – introduced an equity, diversity and inclusion action plan in May. It is the program’s biggest move yet in its push for better representation of four designated groups – women, Indigenous people, visible minorities and people with disabilities – at the highest levels of Canadian research.