Remembering the Engineers from l’École Polytechnique de Montréal

December 6, 2011

Thank you to Shelley Rolland-Poruks of Women-in-Nuclear for sharing her thoughts about the 1989 Montreal Massacre when 14 engineering students lost their lives because they were women.  Currently, women in the nuclear industry working in skilled trades and technologies represent less than 10% of the total workforce. In the next 5-10 years, the North American trades industry will face the challenge of replacing 40% of its retiring workforce. We need talented, skilled workers in our industry, both women and men, to keep the lights on safely. Today we pause to remember the women died while following their chosen path to a career in engineering.

If you’re like me, December 6 is an important day in my life. I remember very clearly in 1989 learning about the 14 women from l’École Polytechnique de Montréal, who were murdered on December 6 while studying to become engineers.  I will never forget how I felt that day- scared, confused and angry. I knew then as I know now, that as a woman I shouldn’t be ashamed of wanting to learn and to have the choice of any career that I worked hard for.

In light of the anniversary of the December 6 Montreal Massacre, I thought I’d pull up a few things from the internet that might interest the WiN Eastern Ontario members. Regardless of the career paths we have each taken, I believe it is important to reflect each year on this Canadian tragedy.
Respectfully yours,

Shelley Rolland-Poruks
WiN Eastern Ontario Chapter Chair

About National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada

From Status of Women Canada

December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Established in 1991 by the Parliament of Canada, this day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women.

As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society. It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. And finally, it is a day on which communities can consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.

Fact: Violence against women and girls affects us all. It destroys lives and weakens the fabric of our society. As a population, it takes a heavy toll on our communities and our economy.

Check out CBC Digital Archives for news clips, interviews and other facts about the December 6 Montreal Massacre.

** Learn more about women in the skilled trades. Download the WiN-Canada and Skills Canada-Ontario position paper, “Women Working in the Skilled Trades and Technologies – Myths and Realities.”

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