Jan 15, 2021

Gender Equality - What Does it Mean to You?

For me, gender equality is simple: it is a world where men and women are treated equally. 

My name is Kristine Szeto. I’m the Director of M&E Preconstruction for the British Columbia Area and I’m honoured to introduce myself as the Chair of 2gether (2: Balance Harmony Gender Equality Team Human Empowerment Redefined). My goal is to form a group reflective of all forms of gender expression, that will discuss gender equality at EllisDon, identify areas for improvement, and set in motion plans to achieve equal outcomes regardless of gender.

I also want to introduce the group’s executive sponsor Tom Howell, Senior Vice President, ED Modular. He will be providing support and leadership at the executive level. In our early conversations about the formation of this group, he clearly expressed why gender equality is so important to him, both from a personal and professional standpoint. I want to thank him in advance for his support and commitment to gender equality.

Gender equality is important.

This initiative isn’t just about getting more women into our industry; it’s about the equitable treatment of all genders. It’s about empowering individuals to feel comfortable calling out unacceptable behavior. It is about achieving a work environment where all employees can be themselves, raise concerns and innovate without fear of failure.

The effect of the global pandemic on women.

2020 has been a rough year for many of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on both our personal and work life, and women have become more vulnerable than ever because of existing gender inequalities. Did you know that women make up 34% of the global employment but account for 54% of the overall job losses since March 2020? (Harvard Business Review) How is this still a thing? More importantly, what are we going to do about it?

The choices we make today will have consequences on gender equality for decades to come.

Research confirms that the diversity of your team and work environment can lead to more effective and efficient decision making. The “Diversity wins: how inclusion matters” May 19, 2020 report by McKinsey & Company states that the more women companies have in executive positions, the higher the likelihood of greater financial performance – up to 48% higher! This leads us to some key questions: how can we attract more women to our workplace, and what inequities must be addressed to ensure that more women feel empowered to grow and advance their careers?

As we seek to advance our mission of transforming the lives of women and girls within our organization and beyond, we will need to be relentless in confronting and removing the barriers that impede positive social change. Think about your sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, and friends from different ethnicities, race, educational background, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, and faith traditions - what would you do or want to change to make sure that they work in an environment where they feel proud, valued, and a sense of belonging?

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time”
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg