The NWMO embraces STEMinism on International Women’s Day – and all year round
Supporting STEM-based education at a young age is one of the ways the NWMO seeks to increase diversity. In this recent photo, NWMO CEO Laurie Swami spends time in a classroom with some young girls.
NWMO CEO Laurie Swami is not shy about her STEMinism, and her commitment to increase equity and diversity is shared across the organization.
That’s why the NWMO was so quick to embrace this year’s International Women’s Day theme: #BalanceForBetter.
Employees across the organization shared, ahead of the March 8 festivities, insights into what the day means to them, the NWMO’s successes, and how it can do better. (You can read more of their thoughts on Twitter @NWMOCanada.)
And to build on their reflections, the NWMO’s CEO carried her STEMinist banner to a special Ontario Energy Association Women in Energy panel about the keys to increasing female representation, and all forms of diversity in the energy sector and across the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
“Over the years, I have gotten used to be one of just a handful of women around the table,” Ms. Swami said. “There were few female engineers when I started out, and though representation has increased, female graduation rates in some fields have flatlined, and the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the fewer women you see.
“That is why it has been so important to me – and to everyone at the NWMO – that we live up to the values we espouse. Last year, I shared my commitment to STEMinism – to helping foster increased diversity not just in nuclear but also across the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Ms. Swami continued. “Our record at the NWMO speaks for itself – half our board is made up of women, and my senior leadership team is quite diverse, over 40 per cent female and comprised of visible minorities and Indigenous people – but we know more work remains.
“Because when we talk about #BalanceForBetter, we do not just mean a 50-50 split on gender; we mean more balanced diversity in all its forms.”
The NWMO’s work to promote diversity in STEM starts with education. The organization has supported dozens of STEM-based learning and extracurricular activities since it was founded in 2002, whether that is helping schools afford equipment that allow kids to learn about coding robots or sponsoring FIRST LEGO League competitions.
“I am proud to work for an organization that seeks to elevate women and foster diversity every day of the year, and not just on International Women’s Day or other markers on the calendar,” said Joanne Jacyk, a senior environmental scientist at the NWMO. “But days like this are still an important reminder that we need to pause and take stock, to ask ourselves, ‘what more can we do?’”
The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) is a not-for-profit organization tasked with the safe, long-term management of Canada’s used nuclear fuel inside a deep geological repository, in a manner that protects people and the environment for generations to come.
Founded in 2002, the NWMO has been guided for more than 20 years by a dedicated team of world-class scientists, engineers and Indigenous Knowledge Holders that are developing innovative and collaborative solutions for nuclear waste management. Canada’s plan will only proceed in an area with informed and willing hosts, where the municipality, First Nation and Métis communities, and others in the area are working together to implement it. The NWMO plans to select a site in 2024, and two areas remain in our site selection process: the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation-Ignace area in northwestern Ontario and the Saugeen Ojibway Nation-South Bruce area in southern Ontario.