McGill Alert / Alerte de McGill

Updated: Thu, 07/18/2024 - 18:12

Gradual reopening continues on downtown campus. See Campus Public Safety website for details.

La réouverture graduelle du campus du centre-ville se poursuit. Complément d'information : Direction de la protection et de la prévention.

The Dean's Corner: Women's History Month

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Dr. Carola Weil, Dean of Continuing Studies, shares a few words in celebration of Women's History Month.

Greetings SCS Family and Friends!

In March we celebrate Women’s History Month, ainsi que le mois de la francophonie. Of course, in the world in which we live, every day should be a day of celebration of the diversity of talent and cultural heritage that the School of Continuing Studies brings to McGill, to our partners and indeed the world.

I honour all those who have been hit particularly hard by what many now refer to as the “she-cession”, the disproportionately negative socio-economic impact of the pandemic on women* and their families. Women lost jobs at a faster and higher rate than men. Although the economy is already showing signs of recovery, women are returning to paid work at lower rates than men. There are of course many reasons for this, including social factors such as that women often hold primary care-giving roles in families. Some data suggest that women’s participation rates in the labour force world-wide are at historically low levels in many decades. And the figures are even worse for First Nations and Inuit communities, as well as racialized and other disadvantaged groups, who already were facing structural barriers before this pandemic.

This reality burdens everyone, not only women. But it also spells “opportunity” in my view. Many of us are re-assessing our path forward, thinking about new skills and ideas we could add to our toolkit. We must consider that the disruption to our lives due to the coronavirus is not just one of medical health (not to minimize this aspect in any way), but one that calls into question the very way in which we learn, teach and work. While SCS actually is ahead of the curve of many more “traditional” educational institutions, we have much work ahead of us to be both agile and inclusive. I look forward to input from all members of our community as we put in place plans for more equitable, diverse and inclusive learning, teaching and working and for anti-racist policies and processes.

I hope that you will take some time out of your busy days and reflect upon what women’s history month might mean to you. Who are the women in your life that you would like to celebrate? I, for one, salute the women who help me lead this faculty, who support our students every day, whether in the classroom or in advisory and administrative capacities. I salute the women who are choosing to learn as SCS students while balancing all their other responsibilities. And of course, I salute all the individuals who stand by women as peers, as partners, mentors, and friends.

* I use the term to refer to all those who self-identify as women as well as those who fulfill the gendered roles of women.


Carola Weil, PhD (she/her/elle)
Dean of Continuing Studies


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