Carleton Releases New Report on Women and Innovation in CanadaMonday, April 29 2013
April 23, 2013-Carleton University’s Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership released a major report today noting the conspicuous absence of the role and contribution of women in the dialogue around innovation. Executive Director Clare Beckton and Nelly Pouragheli, a master’s candidate from Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration, authored the report.
Since 2008, there have been numerous forums and policy reports, but none of the debates have considered the role of women in innovation. It is clear that a major gap in the innovation literature is the role of women. Women offer untapped new opportunities to augment and sustain innovation in Canada, which must be leveraged if it intends on becoming an innovation nation.
In 2009, Canada received a grade of “D” and was ranked 14 out of 17 countries on innovation based on a study by the Conference Board of Canada.
“We hope this report identifies the gaps in literature, research and policies around the role of women innovation and stimulates dialogue and recommendations for research,” says Beckton. “There must be greater collaboration between academics, government and industry to support research aimed at uncovering how women innovate, how their leadership may affect organizational innovation and the costs associated with the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.”
“Canada’s innovation potential demands that all its talent be fully utilized and recognized,” said Pouragheli. “Industry and government need to develop innovation policies, which empower women in their entrepreneurial ambitions, capture their innovation contributions, offer support and encouragement to work in STEM fields, and help hone their leadership skills. Supporting such research endeavours will enable Canada to gain a competitive edge on the global innovation stage.”
Among the report’s findings:
- If all of the emphasis is placed on STEM fields, opportunities for, and recognition of, innovation in other key areas may be missed.
- Current definitions of innovation do not capture all of the contributions of women because they are conceptualized in a gender-neutral manner without evidence to support the commonly held assumption that women and men innovate in similar ways.
- The report reveals that research is needed in several key areas to understand how women innovate and whether it is similar to men. Partnerships are needed between researchers and industry and government to facilitate research that looks at:
- How women innovate and what are the necessary pre-conditions to maximize their potential?
- What impact does women’s leadership have on the innovation potential of an organization in each of the sectors? Since women are missing from senior leadership in several sectors, this can have significant consequences for the innovation potential of the organizations.
- How and where do women entrepreneurs innovate and how do they look at risk. How does this impact the way investors make decisions whether to support women owned enterprises?
- What cultural changes are necessary for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries to attract and retain women?
- What impact do women have on product, service, processes and policy outcomes when they are fully engaged in the innovation process.
- How can and should innovation policy be changed to reflect the results of this enhanced knowledge?
The full report is available at: www.carleton.ca/cwppl