Guelph-Wellington Women* Leaders and the “Glass Ceiling:" International Women's Day 2021

Guelph-Wellington Women* Leaders and the “Glass Ceiling:" International Women's Day 2021


On Monday, March 8th 2021, CESI marked International Women's Day by hosting a webinar in collaboration with the Guelph chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW), the Zonta Club of Guelph, and Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis

Guelph-Wellington Women* Leaders and the Glass Ceiling was open to all who were interested in taking part in a presentation and discussion of leadership, mentorship, and routes toward an equal future. After introductions from each collaborator, the event began with a presentation of research results by the Research Shop. As part of a complex, community-engaged project with CFUW and the CETL program, they interviewed over 20 participants to explore the opportunities and barriers related to leadership faced by local women who are early- to mid-stage career professionals and leaders in their communities. The research findings highlighted mentorship as a major contributing factor to women successfully attaining leadership positions, and illustrated that barriers to leadership and challenges related to gender inequity persist. While the event was not recorded in its entirety, a video and transcript of this presentation of research is available, as well as a summary of the research findings

Next, a student from the winter 2021 iteration of SOAN*3070: Qualitative Methods also shared a presentation of research results that further underlined the role of mentorship in supporting women's goals. This course was supported by CESI's Community Engaged Teaching and learning program, and worked closely with CFUW to explore issues that were relevant to both the students and the community. Topics included women in politics, gender inequality in the workplace, and the importance of mentorship for LGBTQ+ women, women in construction, and women in manufacturing.

After a performance from a spoken word poet, the event closed with a panel on the role of mentorship. Moderated by the Research Shop, this panel featured four local women* leaders from the Guelph/Wellington area - Katie Pope (Motion Electrical Contracting), Shakiba Shayani (Guelph Chamber of Commerce), Kristen Drexler (Big Brothers Big Sisters Centre Wellington), and Juliette Zhang (Amerisource Bergen). It expanded on the research presentations by providing real-life examples; panelists to shared their insights on the value of mentorship and role it has played in their careers. Throughout the day, attendees were encouraged to actively participate by adding comments and posing questions in the chat which were then addressed during a portion of the panel discussion. Althought it was not recorded or transcribed, a graphic summary of the Reflections on Mentorship Experiences Panel is available.


*Our definition of women encompasses cisgender women, transgender women, genderqueer women, and two-spirit, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people who are woman-aligned.

Project Partner(s): 
Canadian Federation of University Women
Zonta Guelph
Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis