A Unique Girl Guide Commemoration for the Montreal Massacre

National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

On December 6, 1989, a man entered a classroom at École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, separated the male and female students, and shot all of the women in the room.  At the conclusion of his 10 minute mission to “fight feminism”, 14 women were dead.

The anniversary of this massacre is now commemorated on December 6, as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.  The 14 murdered women were all studying to become engineers.  In a special commemoration, Girl Guides of Canada scholarship winners currently studying in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs, have told us why it is vital to have women in STEM programs.

“It is important to have women in STEM programs because it promotes successful women doing what they love especially for the STEM women who are in a field that has been commonly called “male dominated.”

— Lori Burns, NS
First Year, Science
2011 Dare Scholarship Winner

“Women bring diversity and different perspectives to STEM programs. These fresh ideas drive innovation in STEM, leading to a better world for everyone.”

— Belinda Li, BC
Post Graduate Studies, Engineering
2011 Energizer Canada “Now That’s Postivenergy”
National Science Scholarship Winner

“Without women in STEM programs, topics that relate to the well-being of women would be less likely to be researched. Furthermore, excluding half of the population from STEM programs would lead to very biased research that doesn’t truly represent the interests of Canadian society.”

— Julia Baum, BC
Second Year, Physiology
2011 GGC National Scholarship Winner

“Since the courageous ambition of the Famous Five, women have worked tirelessly to make a difference in this world. Women in sciences and emerging technologies bring a different set of attributes which foster a different way of seeing and doing things because we are women. I find it interesting that since the inception of women into these programs we have seen exponential growth in this industry, across all domains of the sciences, health and medicine, technology and engineering.”

— Joy Geizer, NS
Second Year, Science/Health Promotion
2011 GGC National Scholarship Winner

“It is important that women participate in STEM programs because we need to transcend the gender dynamics of the past. Through open and inviting inclusion of the most potent and insightful minds in the world (both female and male), we promote the most ground-breaking and remarkable designs and discoveries.”

— Delaney Boyd, AB
Post Graduate Studies, Environmental Design
2011 GGC National Scholarship Winner

“Everyone should have a career that they are passionate about. Women in STEM careers serve as inspirational role models, helping open the eyes of other young women to their own passions and making STEM careers more accessible.”

— Kaitlin Winter, ON
First Year, Science
2011 Estate of Joan Reid Scholarship Winner

“It is important to have women in STEM programs to increase your diversity and enhance your representation and empathy within the fields. Therefore you will be better equipped to serve our population.”

—- Suzanne Vienneau, ON
Third Year, Autism Behavioural Science
2011 GGC National Scholarship Winner

“I believe it is important to have women in STEM because the area of science and technology has been primarily male dominant. By having women become a part of the program not only do they learn vastly important skills but prove to themselves that they are just as capable as anyone else.”

— Micheele Steeves, BC
First Year, Marine Biology
2011 GGC National Scholarship Winner

“Educating women in science, technology, engineering, and medicine is important not only to empower women to be recognized as equals, but to increase the diversity of research and work being done in those fields. As women contribute as scientific professionals, a greater range of perspectives allows for innovative thinking and discovery.”

— Sylvia Rowat, BC
First Year, Science
2011 Energizer Canada “Now That’s Postivenergy”
National Science Scholarship Winner

“Women studying in STEM programs provide young girls with strong role models to look up to, leading them to believe they too can become accomplished in these fields. It is also beneficial to have the opportunity to ask about life as a female in the STEM fields with someone who is experienced in the field. Secondly, women may have different ways of working/thinking than men. The more diversified the work field, the better chance of great discoveries and improvements in all areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”

— Claire McNeil, NS
Post Graduate Studies, Medicine
2011 Dr. Roberta Bondar Scholarship Winner

“In human history, women have been significantly under-represented until fairly recently.  Women deserve every opportunity to show their skills and innovations, including participation in such important areas as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine.”

— Eva Gorny, AB
Fourth Year, Science/Education
2011 GGC National Scholarship Winner

And here is one more we received this morning by a Guider on Twitter:

Guider Comment on Twitter regarding Dec 6


Tell us, what steps are you taking to eliminate violence against women?

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2 Responses to A Unique Girl Guide Commemoration for the Montreal Massacre

  1. Holly says:

    I organize a summer program for high school girls that gives them the opportunity to work in Science and Engineering Research assistant jobs for a summer. The program was started in 1990, and since then we’ve had 705 young women go through the program (80% of them have gone on to pursue education/careers in Science and Engineering!). I see the potential and the enthusiasm in these young women, and it’s an absolute pleasure to see where their careers take them. It is also wonderful to know that many young women these days do not even realize the challenges that might face women in the fields of Science and Engineering. Ultimately we wish that there will be no more challenges, but in the meantime, it’s our responsibility to prepare young women to tackle the challenges head on and prove to everyone that they really can do anything.

    Our summer program is dedicated to one of the young women who perished in the Polytechnique tragedy. Myself and the other Pathfinder leader are both physicists and understand the importance of Dec. 6th. Tonight we’re taking our pathfinders to a Dec. 6th vigil. We will be dedicating our participation in the Girls for Safer Communities project, and completing the last part of the GGC Violence against women challenge.

  2. Amy Porteous says:

    I spend most of my days in court prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence. I actually think that covering relationship violence with our units is more effective in terms of eliminating violence against women, though. A huge proportion of domestic violence prosecutions fail because the victims want their abusers back. Most of us probably think that we’d act differently if we were in that situation, but it happens so often that it’s practically the norm. By helping girls to become strong, confident young women with their own dreams, we are helping reduce the likelihood that they’ll end up in, or stay in, abusive relationships. We’re also increasing the chance that they will take action if they suspect that a friend is the target of violence. Thank you to Guiders across the country for all you do — you never know what calamity you’re helping prevent.

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