On February 11, 2017, AllerGen HQP Laura Feldman joined an exclusive audience of more than 100 women and girls to celebrate the 2017 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, held at Facebook Canada’s headquarters in Toronto, ON.
As Vice-President of the AllerGen Students and New Professionals Network (ASNPN), Ms. Feldman was invited by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to attend the event, which featured The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s Minister of Science and The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Canada’s Minister of Status of Women.
A panel discussion, hosted by Canadian entrepreneur Erica Ehm, promoted and inspired women and girls in the STEM disciplines—science, technology, engineering and math.
“It was an honour to attend this high-profile event and to meet the Ministers in person,” said Ms. Feldman (MPH), a Clinical Research Project Coordinator working with AllerGen investigator Dr. Teresa To at the Hospital for Sick Children. “The panelists focused on how to break down the barriers facing women and girls in STEM and how to encourage the full participation of women in these fields—the discussion was very inspiring.”
“As an AllerGen HQP, I have had many incredible opportunities to advance my career in science,” she added. “From capacity-building workshops to funding for international research visits and mentoring from AllerGen researchers like Dr. To and others—these opportunities have helped me to arrive at a place where I believe I can now offer mentorship to other young women.”
AllerGen supports women in science to develop advanced-stage research expertise. Through its diverse initiatives, AllerGen’s HQP program has attracted and retained a high proportion of Canadian female researchers in a gender ratio that far exceeds the national average. From 2011 to 2017, women represented: 72.5% of AllerGen HQP at the Master’s level; 67% of AllerGen HQP at the doctoral level; and 70% of AllerGen HQP at the postdoctoral level.
February 11 was declared as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015.