Experts: International Women's Day | March 8

Published: 3 March 2020

March 8 is International Women's Day, a global day of recognition celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and girls, and raising awareness of the work left to be done. (Status of Women Canada)

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:

Health and wellness

Natalie Dayan, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine

Gender bias still exists in health care, from academic recognition and support in the workforce, to identifying and treating disease in women and men of all genders. My take is that being treated equally is not equivalent to being treated the same. It is only when we, as a community, appreciate this point and use it in our policies that we will achieve true equity.”

Natalie Dayan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Director of Obstetric Medicine at the McGill University Health Centre. She leads the Heart & Stroke-McGill University Early Career Professorship in Women’s Heart Health, the first research chair in Quebec focused on women’s cardiac health.

natalie.dayan [at] (English)

Isabelle Malhamé, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine

Since the obstetric population has dramatically changed in recent years, modern medicine must evolve and adapt in order to provide women with the highest standards of pregnancy care.

Isabelle Malhamé is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and an attending physician at the McGill University Health Centre, where she provides specialized clinical service to women with medical disorders before, during, and after pregnancy. Her research focuses on severe cardiovascular complications occurring during pregnancy and the postpartum period in high and low resource settings.

isabelle.malhame [at] (English, French)

Louise Pilote, James McGill Professor, Department of Medicine, Divisions of Internal Medicine and Experimental Medicine

To improve women's health, we need to advocate for inclusion of women in studies. Many clinical trials include a small proportion of women, yet often the conclusion is that the findings apply to both men and women. Researchers and policy makers must provide and request data in both men and women to make relevant recommendations.”

Louise Pilote is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Medicine and a Senior Scientist in the Cardiovascular Health Across the Lifespan Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. She is coordinating the GOING-FWD, a data science, personalized medicine project aimed at improving the health and well-being of men and women funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health and Research (CIHR) and GENDER-NET+, as part of the European EU H2020 initiative.

louise.pilote [at] (English, French)

Management and leadership

Lisa Cohen, Associate Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management

Across multiple studies, I show that work is not always equal for women and this is not because women are somehow less able than men. It is the structures and the way work are organized that create and maintain inequality. Research on differences in workplace outcomes for men and women often focusses on differences between men and women. It is equally important to focus on how men and women are placed in different locations in the workplace and in different jobs.”

Lisa Cohen is an Associate Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management. Prior to joining Desautels, she was a faculty member at the London Business School, the Yale School of Management and the Graduate School of Management, University of California, Irvine, where she taught in the areas of strategic human resources, organizational behavior and communications.

lisa.cohen2 [at] (English)

Melissa Sonberg, Professor of Practice, Desautels Faculty of Management

A big issue in this world is whether we need quotas to have meaningful growth in the number of women in the C-Suite and in corporate boards. The case for quotas references the glacial pace of change (less than 20 per cent of public companies in North America have a woman on the Board of Directors) while the case against is predicated on merit and expertise being more important than gender. I think the answer requires integration of both sides of the issue.

Melissa Sonberg has enjoyed over three decades of international leadership success across a broad range of corporate, not-for-profit and academic environments. A seasoned C-suite executive, passionate about transformation and change management, her focus is now on creating positive, and profitable, impact through Board appointments and select business advisory engagements.

melissa.sonberg [at] (English, French)

Science and technology

Morgan Crowley, PhD candidate, Department of Natural Resource Sciences

It’s an exciting time in history to be a remote sensing scientist because new earth observation satellites are being launched each day. For women in the field, there is increased support through organizations like Ladies of Landsat and even more visibility of our groundbreaking contributions.

Morgan Crowley is a PhD candidate in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences, where she conducts research on mapping and analyzing wildfire progressions in Canada. She helps lead the Macdonald Campus Women+ in Science group and the international Ladies of Landsat initiative.

morgan.crowley [at] (English) 

Anna Hargreaves, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

There's never been a better time to be a female scientist, as barriers are coming down and support is increasing. However, there's still a long way to go and not all challenges can be fought on university campuses. In terms of ecology & evolution, our ongoing implicit bias that males are the standard for 'normal' is obvious in how we talk about animals. People (including scientists) often default to make pronouns for any animal, including those that are clearly female (most bees and ants, for example)."

Anna Hargreaves is an evolutionary ecologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. Her research focuses on interactions among species (biotic interactions) and the dynamics of species range limits.

anna.hargreaves [at] (English)

Alexandra Ketchum, Faculty Lecturer, Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Women and technology, as highlighted by the Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Series, is an important topic in today's society. We must ask ourselves how our technologies (as wide ranging as artificial intelligence, machine-learning, voice assistants, robots, apps and social media) affect women's rights?”

Alexandra Ketchum is a Faculty Lecturer at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies and the founder of the Feminist and Accessible Publishing, Communications, and Technologies Speaker and Workshop Series, a initiative seeking to bring together scholars, creators, and people in industry working at the intersections of digital humanities, computer science, feminist studies, disability studies, communications studies, LGBTQ studies, history, and critical race theory.

alexandra.ketchum [at] (English, French* written only)

Audrey Moores, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry

International Women’s day is incredibly important to females in the workplace, because it’s a day to reflect on what has been accomplished and what there is still to work on. Women come together as a community and give each other the right to dream, to be ambitious and to feel empowered. I derive an enormous amount of energy and faith from such days.

Audrey Moores is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry. A leading expert in the field of catalysis using metal, metal oxide and biomass-based nanomaterials, with a special emphasis on sustainable processes and use of earth abundant starting materials, she held the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry from 2007 to 2017.

audrey.moores [at] (English, French)

Social justice and advocacy 

Chloe Garcia, Sessional Instructor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education

Young women and girls are actively taking part in gender-based violence prevention and awareness-raising through their activism and education-oriented videos on YouTube. While youth participation in digital spaces is not without its problems, their efforts to provide entertaining, affective sexualities education to their peers is commendable, particularly when sex education in schools remains controversial.

Chloe Garcia is a recent PhD graduate and a sessional instructor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education. Her research revolves around digital and media literacies, youth digital media products, sex education and sexual and gender-based violence. She is currently working on curriculum development and research for the PortraitX initiative, led by the community organization Raison d’Art.

chloe.garcia [at] (English, French)

Shaheen Shariff, James McGill Professor, Department of Integrated Studies in Education

It seems our society continues to move one step forward in women’s rights – and two-steps back. My heart is with the millions of courageous migrant women who are running from war and conflict, displaced from their homes and families; raising children in refugee camps and closed hostile borders. On International Women’s Day, politicians, educators and society as a whole need to reflect deeply on the long-term impacts on these women and children. Society needs to work harder and collaboratively towards peace, unity, love and support, instead of proliferating protectionism, misogyny, sexism, and racialized division."

Shaheen Shariff is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education and an associate member of the Faculty of Law. Her work is centred on the intersection of education, law and policy, with a focus on constitutional, human rights and civil law as it impacts educational institutions. She is best known for her work on cyberbullying, and sexual violence as symptoms of deeply ingrained systemic discrimination and societal power imbalances (intersecting forms of sexism, misogyny, homophobia, ableism, ageism, and xenophobia).

shaheen.shariff [at] (English)

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