Aya El-HashemiAya El-Hashemi of the BIDE Initiative speaks to engineering students, faculty, and staff at a Nov. 29 event on preventing gender-based violence.

Engineering hosts discussion on preventing gender-based violence

A discussion on preventing gender-based violence, Nov. 29 in the Centre for Engineering Innovation, was well attended by faculty, staff, and students.

Dean of engineering Bill Van Heyst called the turnout encouraging.

“Events like these help to open the doors for more difficult conversations that are needed to change the culture and narrative within engineering,” he said.

Speakers introduced campus services that support victims and provide education about sexual misconduct. The presenters included:

  • Frances Cachon, Bystander Initiative
  • Jessica Glazewski, Office of Sexual Violence Prevention, Resistance, and Support
  • Aya El-Hashemi, the BIDE Initiative
  • Mohamad Musa, clinical therapist, Faculty of Law; sessional instructor, School of Social Work
  • Alexander Pershai, advisor to the Faculty of Engineering on equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Media Salih, Women in Engineering

Dr. Pershai said Tuesday’s event is the first of many which will integrate an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens into the discipline.

Pershai said the 1989 massacre of 14 female engineering students at Montreal’s École Polytechnique was not an isolated event but reflects a larger socio-cultural context.

“Gender-based violence happens every day and is deeply rooted in our perceptions of women and men, traditional expectations of gender roles, and the gender-biased power division and status quo. It needs to be addressed and prevented, especially in male-dominated industries such as engineering.”

Pershai encourages everyone to attend a vigil marking the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at the Memorial of Hope, located between Essex and Dillon halls.

—Naomi Pelkey

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