In 2016, the government introduced legislation requiring all employees to be registered with a female-dominated gender-neutral identity.
It was an incremental step, one that had a lot of potential.
Women are less likely to go into professional roles that require a lot more formal training and experience, and women in STEM fields are disproportionately underrepresented in those roles.
The government’s goal is to ensure that every female employee can be represented in the workplace, but as of now, only one-quarter of employers are gender-responsive.
For those women, there’s still no easy way to transition into a career that doesn’t rely heavily on their previous gender.
That’s why many of the careers and careers-related initiatives that I mentioned above are centered around empowering women.
One of the most successful of these is the Career Development Initiative, a project of the Government of Canada that aims to encourage female employees to take a more active role in their careers.
While it’s not exactly a new initiative, its success in Canada has been driven in large part by its use of digital tools to encourage participation.
This has helped many women get the skills they need to succeed in their current and future careers.
The Career Development Institute (CDI) at the University of Calgary, for example, created a new program called ‘Women in STEM’ that was designed to give women a new way to engage in STEM-related work and explore career options.
The program was developed with the help of the Women in STEM Network and the University College Cork, where they work with women to develop educational and career development tools.
“We wanted to make sure that the curriculum that women have access to, that we could make sure women had the tools they needed to be successful in the future,” says CDI coordinator Emily Breen.
Breen says the initiative was initially designed to serve female university students, but over time, as the organization expanded its reach, it was also introduced to more men.
“So, we actually had a very female-focused and female-led program, and we felt that the community, women and men, really embraced it,” she says.
For many people, the idea of an agency that can help women transition into their future careers seems like a no-brainer.
But for those women who are still hesitant about transitioning, the process isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Beren says the process is challenging and she can’t stress enough how important it is for women who want to transition to get help.
“It’s very hard to transition and be in a position where you’re confident enough to transition, and be able to navigate a career transition without it feeling like you’re a failure,” she explains.
Beryl says she was initially hesitant to take the step because she was unsure how much help she would be able, or even able to get, and the stigma around transition was too much for her.
“I think for many women, transition is just not a viable option.
So for a lot women, it’s really hard for them to know how to transition,” she adds.
“That’s something that is very challenging to deal with.”
Beryl is right about the stigma associated with transition.
Transitioning can feel overwhelming, and it can feel difficult for people who have been through it before.
“There are so many things that are different about transitioning to a new job,” Beryl continues.
“The fact that you’ve already been on a male-dominated field is kind of different than the fact that the person you’re interviewing is male.
You’re talking about a woman and a man.
And then for a woman who’s transitioning, you’re talking to a person who’s transgendered.”
Beren, who transitioned in the 1990s, says she felt isolated during her transition.
“You don’t know anyone and you’re on your own.
It’s hard to find a job and a place to live that supports you,” she recalls.
“For a lot people who are trans, it can be a very isolating transition.”
As a result, many of those women I spoke with have struggled with the fact they’re not confident enough about their transition.
Boren says she struggled with how to approach transition, as she was still in her early 20s.
“After my transition, I didn’t feel that I had any confidence in my transition.
I still struggled,” she remembers.
“When I transitioned, it felt so difficult, because it was a very male-centric field.
I was trying to find my place in the field, and I couldn’t.”
Boren is one of the few women in the organization that had the opportunity to transition during her first year.
“As an organization, we have a really great reputation for women-led initiatives,” she states.
“A lot of times, the first time you’re doing something, you don’t really know what to expect.”
One of these initiatives is the Women’s Leadership Project, which is