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Report highlights lack of women in Canada’s tech sector

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Groundbreaking study from #movethedial illustrates underrepresentation of women

#movethedial, a movement focused on increasing the participation and advancement of women in technology in Canada, released its benchmark report Where’s the Dial Now? amid growing discussion about the gender gap in Canada’s technology sector.

“The report’s purpose is to generate awareness of the gender disparity that exists in Canada’s technology industry and to challenge our leaders to take action and drive positive change,” says #movethedial founder Jodi Kovitz, CEO of AceTech Ontario. “This is not a choice, it’s a social and economic necessity. When we don’t have great women leaders, we miss opportunities to collaborate, to bring diverse viewpoints to the table, to address the sector’s growing talent gap, and to create technologies that serve the needs of everyone.”

Co-authored by #movethedial, PwC Canada and MaRS, and sponsored by Ceridian, the report examines the current state of women in the tech and innovation community in Canada.


The report’s key findings include:

  • Only 5% of Canadian tech companies have a female founder. When companies with male and female co-founders are factored in, the percentage of tech companies founded by women increases to 13%;
  • Only 5% of Canadian tech companies have a female CEO;
  • Women make up 13% of the average tech company’s executive team;
  • 53% of tech companies have no women executives;
  • On average, only 8% of directors are women, while 73% of boards have no women at all;
  • Approximately 30% of Canadian venture capital firms have a female partner.

“This report establishes a baseline against which we can measure the collective impact of #movethedial as we continue to increase the participation and advancement of women in our tech community,” says Chris Dulny, National Technology Sector Leader at PwC Canada. “It is not good enough that only 5% of our founders and CEOs are women. If we want Canada to be a global technology leader – whether in e-commerce, artificial intelligence or quantum computing – we need to be bringing our full talent pool forward.”

Given Canada’s growing visibility on the world’s technology stage, Where’s the Dial Now? sets the bar for the future, say Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS. “We simply can’t bring the required talent into our growth firms fast enough, or build businesses that truly matter with women on the sidelines. We need a serious reset — from the way women are engaged, treated, valued, funded and supported — at all levels, and across the full innovation life cycle. Without this reset, our innovation ecosystem will remain undifferentiated and subscale, and our economy and our communities will suffer.”

Data shows women in leadership positions hire women

There is still a long way to go, says Justine Kilby, head of strategy at Ceridian. “However, I am encouraged by the data that shows how women in leadership positions hire women. If we focus on sponsoring women in these top roles, others will benefit in a cascading effect.”

The report and its findings are supported by a broad cross section of Canada’s tech and venture capital leaders.

“A strong competitive ecosystem is heavily dependent upon attracting and hiring from the best talent pool available,” says Anthony Lacavera, founder and Chairman of Globalive, “and it is for this reason diversity within the industry is important if Canada is to take a leading position on the global stage.”


About #movethedial

#movethedial is a movement dedicated to increasing the participation and advancement of women in technology. Founded on the premise that advancing the full talent pool will make Canada’s tech industry the strongest and most inclusive in the world, #movethedial believes the opportunity for gender parity exists at a global level. Proudly headquartered in Toronto, Canada, #movethedial is working to drive support and commitment to the #movethedial movement at home and internationally. Learn more at: www.movethedial.ca.



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