International Day of Women and Girls in Science: We need frameworks, not patchworks, to plug the leaky pipeline

By Dr Maryse Lassonde, Scientific Director of Les Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) and President of the Royal Society of Canada

On 11 February, the world will be celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science. There will be lots of articles and speeches about the famous “leaky pipeline”, a metaphor used to describe the constant flow of women leaving the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) throughout their studies and careers.

Let’s be honest – you cannot “plug the leaks” with policy fixes. In Quebec and Canada, we have an impressive array of policies and projects to promote gender equality that span across almost every ministry. Yet the data show that there has been little, if any, progress in the number of women pursuing STEM over the past 20 to 30 years. Continue reading