November Luncheon Recap: Women on Board

December 5, 2019

History is often the clearest indicator of progress, and there’s no doubt that we are closer to gender equality today than at any other time in history.

There’s also no doubt that there is still a lot of progress left to be made.

Despite the fact that women are earning 58 per cent of university degrees in Canada, only about 4 per cent of Canadian CEOs are women.

In the past 20 years, the gender wage gap in Canada has only closed by less than six percentage points, and in 2018, women were still earning just 89 per cent of what men were earning, based on average hourly full-time wage rates.

These types of troubling statistics are exactly why we need organizations like Catalyst, and leaders like Tanya van Biesen, Catalyst Canada’s executive director and the keynote speaker at our November Membership Luncheon, Women on Board.

Here are the top three takeaways from van Biesen’s presentation on on gender equity:

1) Unconscious bias is exactly that; unconscious

“We all make assumptions everyday about people, based on what we see or what we think we see. These assumptions have the power to influence our behaviour — positively or negatively — thereby turning them into biases. And it won’t come as a surprise to you that negative unconscious biases are at the root of what is holding women back in the workplace today.”

2) Each one of us has the opportunity — right now — to be the difference we want to see

“Everyone in this room today has an opportunity to impact this conversation. To take tangible steps inside your organizations to accelerate the pace of change toward a society where everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to succeed.”

3) Gender equity is good for business (yes, your business)

“A huge body of research now shows that gender diverse teams make better decisions, drive higher levels of innovation, and are more productive than homogenous teams. Put simply; gender diverse teams drive better business results.”

For more information on Catalyst and the work leaders like Tanya van Biesen are doing, visit