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The Quest for Transparency in Gender Reporting

Recently, CBC devoted attention to a topic of great interest to Women in Communications and Technology: Canadian tech companies’ commitment to diversity.

While scores of Canadian tech companies have supported publicly the benefits of a diverse workforce, when it comes to actual proof that is being carried out at the employment level, companies get cagey. CBC reached out to 31 companies to share data of employee diversity. Only two companies were willing to disclose metrics of the actual makeup of their workforce, with a third stating plans to release the results of their first diversity survey within the next month.

Why are so many Canadian companies reluctant to be up front about their diversity and inclusion practices? There is an undeniable gender gap in the tech sector, one that WCT believes can be countered with accountability. This philosophy drives WCT’s Up the Numbers campaign, which released its first report in May 2017.

Much like CBC’s reporting on this story, WCT’s Up the Numbers campaign aims to engage Canadian digital employers to agree to transparency in gender reporting. The goal is to encourage measures to actively increase the participation of women in digital industries. Eight companies opened their books for the first Up the Numbers report. This is only the beginning. WCT is working to mobilize participation in Up the Numbers countrywide.

Women comprise about a quarter of the technology workforce, according to Labour Force Survey data, which is an encouraging statistic. Furthermore, studies have proven that there is a business case for increasing the diversity of the industry. WCT is eager to do its part to help move the needle by working with companies, governments and academic institution to establish best practices and strategies of recruiting and advancing women. The buy-in of all these parties is critical to making actual progress.

How can we increase the participation of women in under-represented industries? By encouraging accountability and transparency, by tracking and publishing key information about where women are in the information and communications technology industry and by setting targets for improvement and reporting progress. Increased visibility on the topic of diversity in the media like the CBC story helps make the case that WCT is championing: achieving gender parity.

This article was written by Ariel Vered, WCT Manager of Programs and Operations. Learn more about WCT's advocacy programs here.

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