#EachforEqual – Celebrating and Empowering Women and Girls in Ocean
It’s International Women’s Day – an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made to advance women’s rights around the world and time to look ahead at the incredible amount of work required to truly achieve a gender equal world.
As a mom, I look at my young daughter and hope she will never feel her gender has anything to do with her inability to do something – but instead having everything to do with her ability to do whatever she wants. Today her ideas and dreams run free, uninhibited by gender bias, and if anything, I feel they may even be heightened because she is a girl who knows she has something to contribute. It’s my hope that never changes.
As a leader of an organization focused on innovation and ocean growth, I see first-hand the clear imbalance of women represented in ocean industries globally. This is widely-recognized as a challenge and an opportunity. Under the UN Sustainable Development goals gender equality is one of 17 priorities, where the increased participation of women is identified as a key aspect of sustainable ocean management.
To achieve the kind of innovation and ocean growth we have set out to do, particularly in Canada, I see an incredible opportunity to continue to grow the number of women participating in ocean, and the number of girls who dream about their role in transforming it in the future.
Working together to achieve #EachforEqual benefits us all. It means healthier homes and workplaces, it means growth in ocean industries and a stronger economy overall, it means new growth and opportunity – and it means taking those strides that are so important to achieving our full potential collectively, as a society.
At Canada’s Ocean Supercluster our focus is on growing the ocean economy in a way that has never been done before. We serve as a facilitator for the development of ideas, partnerships, and game-changing projects in ocean in Canada. A part of that is our responsibility to ensure women and other under-represented groups are engaged and have the opportunity to get involved in the capacity they choose.
Every day I get to work with a team across Atlantic Canada who are helping deliver on what I would argue is one of the most important economic opportunities for the region and for Canada. Two weeks ago when we announced an almost $7M investment in the Ocean Startup Project, four out of five of those leaders speaking on behalf of the project partners were women. I’m not sure that would have been the case if this was 20 years ago. So, while there is a lot more to do to continue to increase women leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and workers in ocean, I feel there is change afoot. We are making progress.
At Canada’s Ocean Supercluster our senior management team is comprised of 80 per cent women whose backgrounds and experiences make them the best people for their jobs. The same is true for our entire team where, as we’ve grown, we maintain a balance of qualified women and men who are incredibly talented and dedicated to their work. This is an approach we will continue to employ.
Our work is focused on collaboration to develop and commercialize solutions to shared ocean challenges. These are industries that may not have traditionally seen the participation of women, but through their evolution and embracement of innovation, coupled with growth of new ocean industries, the stories of women leading the charge, driving new opportunity, and taking on roles that would have previously been almost exclusively held by men gives me hope that not only we are on the path to gender balance, but there are champions, of all genders, committed to #EachforEqual every day.
Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is proud to have a Board of Directors that is diverse in background and gender. Of those Board members include five women – Moya Cahill, Unni Fjaer, Jennifer O’Donnell, Anya Waite, and Angie Gillis – whom I would like to recognize today for demonstrating the kind of value women bring, and for empowering other women to do the same.
The Canadian economy stands to benefit greatly from developing opportunities in the ocean economy. I am proud to be a part of this movement, especially with an organization such as the OSC, which prioritizes gender equity on its board, team and committees. As we work to transform ocean industries and establish Canada as an ocean leader, I hope we inspire many more women to participate in transforming the ways we do business on the ocean. – Jennifer O’Donnell, Executive Director, BioNB
As we all celebrate International Women’s Day, 2020, I am happy to celebrate the success of PanGeo Subsea in forging a more gender-based ocean industries economy. Atlantic Canada is home to many women led ocean technology companies and I consider myself in ‘great company’. We all have a part to play in supporting the equality of women; gender parity is not only a social issue but an economic issue as well and continued advancement of women in technology will directly support growth in our Canadian ocean economy. As CEO in what has conventionally been identified as a male dominated industry, I am increasingly seeing more and more young women interested in careers in the ocean industries. I encourage those young women to pursue their passion and to break down and forge through any barriers to fulfil their career goals. We are fortunate at PanGeo Subsea to have a good balance of gender in our team, both onshore and offshore and many of our young women are on the path to becoming leaders in their field and are contributing to the creation of gender equal world. I am proud of the women leaders in our company and the example that they portray to the next generation of young women professionals – let’s keep building that gender equal world and more specifically, the gender equal ocean industries sector. – Moya Cahill, P. Eng CEO, PanGeo Subsea