Toronto was recently ranked as North America’s fastest growing tech market, adding more than 22,000 jobs last year. Yet there remains one massive glitch: the lack of women in the industry.
Right now only about 25 per cent of the workforce is female.
Jodi Kovitz, CEO at AceTech Ontario and also one of the organizers of Elevate Toronto – a three day tech festival that celebrates the best of Canadian Innovation – believes this is something that needs to be fixed.
“Girls are going into STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] but they need role models, they need examples to see the leaders that they can be,” she explained.
“In order to build the best tech for the future … we have to have diverse teams building those solutions and if we don’t build solutions for the population, we are not doing our absolute best for our children and the rest of the population.”
The City of Toronto has been tacking this issue head on by opening its own civic innovation office. According to director Paula Kwan, the newly created office will “harness the ingenuity and innovation that lives in Toronto and applied it to serving the people who call this city home.”
The creation of the office was made possible by funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which provided $500,000 in grants to Toronto for the next three years.
As well, Mayor John Tory announced in June that he and other city leaders would only attend tech events where the programming is gender-equal.
Elevate Toronto runs from Sept 12 to 14. For more details on the festival click here.