McMaster in Moscow: Women in Engineering mini-doc featured at G(irls) 20 Summit

June 17, 2013

What began as one conversation about women in the world of technology has evolved into a global movement with tangible results. And now, McMaster University has joined that conversation.

On June 17, the fourth annual G(irls) 20 Summit in Moscow, Russia, will bring together delegates from each of the G20 countries and the African Union for education, exploration and entrepreneurial development. For this international event, McMaster has partnered with the G(irls)20 Summit to create an original, thought-provoking video exploring the pressing global need for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or ‘S.T.E.M.’ careers.

Women in Engineering: Our Global Future, a mini-documentary created by McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, explores the wealth of career opportunities that await young women in scientific and technological fields. Hosted by Elaine Kunda, member of the McMaster Alumni Association Board of Directors and lead advisor of the G(irls) 20 Summit, this video intends to inform and inspire women who may become our future engineers.

"Attracting women to scientific or technological fields is a challenge for most G20 countries,” says Kunda. “It made sense to go directly to the source and speak with students and faculty members in this field of study if we wanted answers and insight. McMaster Engineering responded immediately with their interest and support, and not only gave us access but funded this initiative.”

On June 17, the G(irls) 20 delegates, who are all girls aged 18-20, will have the opportunity to view the McMaster video and to draw their own conclusions about what can be done to open up economic possibilities for women around the globe.

Art Heidebrecht, acting dean of engineering, feels the mini-documentary highlights the Faculty of Engineering's core values of diversity and inclusivity, and to fostering a collaborative and engaging academic community.

“The objectives of the G(irls)20 Summit align well with our key faculty priorities and we are proud to be an academic partner,” says Heidebrecht.  “This project communicates our shared belief in investing in girls and women, in the importance of women pursuing careers in engineering and technology, and in the pivotal role of women in developing a sustainable world.”

In the video, McMaster faculty members Heather Sheardown, Saideh Razavi and Sarah Dickson examine the reasons why there are fewer girls in these fields and share insights into the economic and social benefits of recruiting women into them. And engineering students, like Trinette Wright, share their passion and commitment to solving the world’s problems.

The G(irls) 20 Summit will include special guest speakers such as Arianna Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post), Jennifer Buffet (NoVo Foundation president) and Lauren Bush Lauren (founder of FEED). The delegates will spend several days in workshops (June 15 - 18) with two days learning from presentations and panel discussions that will be livestreamed on www.girls20summit.com . They will engage with the concepts and spend a day developing a communiqué that will be presented to the G20 Leaders Summit in Russia in September 2013.

Filmed and produced locally by Hamilton’s very own Double Barrel Studios, this video is now taking a trip abroad to be shown on an international stage. Roslyn Allen and Lee Hillman bring their years of experience to the table to collaborate with McMaster University once again on an engaging outreach project.

“When we were asked to work with McMaster Engineering on this mini-documentary, we were excited at the possibility of creating a piece that would inform and inspire audiences,” says Allen. “It’s always a pleasure to produce engaging, forward-thinking material, especially when the message is this important. McMaster and the G(irls) 20 Summit have succeeded in highlighting the countless possibilities for women who take on leadership roles in our society. We couldn’t be more pleased to have brought this message to life on screen!”

Established in 2010, the G(irls)20 is an organization that promotes the economic empowerment, education and entrepreneurial training of girls and women globally.

“I'm very proud of the end result,” says Kunda. “I think the video raises topics that will stimulate an engaging discussion and it will resonate with girls and women who see it."