Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (E.D.I.)

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AKCSE and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (E.D.I.)

Equity means no one should be discriminated because of gender, disability, religion, age, and so forth in having opportunities. Diversity means individual differences in conditions and characteristics, and these visible or invisible individual differences must be embraced. After all Diversity is to recognize individual differences including age, region, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, health, socio-economic status, and so forth. Inclusion means inclusive participation and involvement of these people. Based on these values, AKCSE respects all its members and shall encourage all members and participants of all AKCSE events and functions to reach their full potential.

E.D.I. is part of policy, process, research excellence and evaluation criteria index of Canadian government and educational institutes, so it is widely applied to build diverse and competitive research foundation. AKCSE is fostering E.D.I. to build equal, diverse and inclusive science technology research community. In other words, recognizing and fostering E.D.I. eventually provides diverse experience and numerous creative ideas to AKCSE, and this coincides with the policies of the Canadian government and all educational institutes as mentioned before. Compared to other specialized science associations or societies, the current AKCSE is very homogeneous in ethnicity, educational background, age, religion, etc., but it is clear E.D.I. is still an important issue that the Association must continue to promote with enthusiasm.

AKCSE’s Young Generation (YG) has sizable proportion of women. Yet the ratio of female members who make up YP or the Association members over the age of 35 participating in CKC is relatively very low compared to its male peers. Therefore, the Association is working on ways to encourage female members to participate and get involved in the Association activities. As the immigration history in Canada runs long, the second and later generation of immigration is generating many scientists and engineers, and they are brought up in Korean family with Korean heritage and culture. Nonetheless some of them are limiting themselves in the Association activities because of their last names, differences in appearance, upbringing in multi-cultural family or other reasons. Currently the Association is developing strategies to support them to lead the next generation of the Association while encouraging their active involvement embracing this generation.

E.D.I. is not a goal that can be achieved in short term, and it is an issue that all Association members not to mention the Executives needs to acknowledge its importance and pursue consistently for a long period of time. AKCSE first newly created a VP-E.D.I. position dedicated to E.D.I., and balanced gender ratio by appointing 2 female VPs out of 4 VPs. In addition, the Association tried to arrange the place of origin for the President Committee and the Executives evenly.

AKCSE’s Woman in Science and Engineering (WiSE) is led by a committee consisting of 3 female members and actively engaging various activities in the Association. During CKC 2021 they had successfully organized two WiSE sessions. Firstly, they hosted a program under the theme of “How to Cope with Covid-19 Burnout” in collaboration with the Korea Federation of Women’s Science and Technology Association (KOFWST). This program aimed to support a better understanding of the impact of the current pandemic on mental distress in Canada and Korea, especially among women scientists and engineers in the various stages of their careers. It provided an opportunity for them to share their experiences on how they have been struggling and/or managing burnout during the pandemic period via pre-recorded vodcasts as well as panel discussion. Secondly, they hosted a joint Consilience Technical Workshop between the Association of Korean Woman Scientists and Engineers (KWSE) and AKCSE members 1) to promote networking among Korean and Canadian women in science and technology, 2) to disseminate their research works, 3) and to discover future international research collaboration projects. The development of core technologies in the era of the 4th industrial revolution, such as convergence technology using artificial intelligence and emerging research in the environment/energy/quantum fields were discussed. The AKCSE-WiSE also nominated two Canadian next-generation female scientists for YWS Camp & Smart Sister Workshop hosted by KWSE, and Canada’s WiSE representatives attended the 8th GNet Forum in Korea hosted by the KOFWST.