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Striving for diverse leadership

With strong support by its Board of Trustees, Queen’s becomes early adopter of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge to achieve gender parity and increase diversity at leadership level.

Canadian flag flying atop a Queen's building
Institutions adopting the challenge pledge to achieve gender parity on their boards and in senior leadership roles, with at least 30 per cent of those roles filled by Canadians from underrepresented groups.

Queen’s University has enrolled as an early adopter in the federal government’s 50-30 Challenge – an initiative aimed at increasing the number of women and Canadians from under-represented groups on corporate boards and in leadership positions.

At an announcement on December 10, The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, unveiled over 450 public, private, and not-for-profit organizations who have signed-up as early adopters to the challenge. Queen's is among a small group of post-secondary institutions to sign on.

“Securing a distinct array of voices at leadership tables is key to the meaningful advance of equity and inclusion efforts,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Queen’s proudly commits to the federal government’s 50-30 Challenge and, as an early adopter, looks forward to exemplifying what it means to incorporate diverse perspectives across a post-secondary institution.”

This initiative was met with strong support from Queen's Board of Trustees, which expedited the decision to adopt the challenge during last weekend’s board meeting.

By participating in the challenge, organizations pledge to work toward achieving gender parity on their boards and in senior leadership positions, with at least 30 per cent of these positions filled by Canadians from under-represented groups – including racialized persons, people who identify as LGBTQ2+, people living with disabilities, as well as First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

“If we want to continue building successful and innovative businesses, we must invite all people and voices in Canada to the decision-making table,” said Minister Bains, in a statement at the time the challenge was launched. “This is why the 50-30 Challenge is vital. It is an opportunity for corporate Canada, diversity organizations, and the Government of Canada to collaborate and advance inclusion, diversity, and economic prosperity from coast to coast to coast.”

Queen’s decision to participate in the challenge also follows a number of related steps to address racism on campus. Earlier this year, Queen's University senior leadership and deans, led by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, issued the Declaration of Commitment to Address Systemic Racism. The declaration commits all members of the University senior administration to “root out the causes of racism within the university and to ensure that those who experience racism and related forms of injustice are treated equitably and are able to participate in the life of the university, fully and authentically.”

The Government also intends for the 50-30 Challenge to build on a number of other ongoing EDII initiatives –including the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy and the Dimensions Charter. Queen’s was an early signatory of the Dimensions Charter – a series of principles aimed at guiding institutional EDII initiatives, and providing a framework for identifying and addressing inequalities in the academe. Queen’s is also home of the WE-CAN project – a suite of innovation and entrepreneurship programs for women entrepreneurs funded by a grant under the Women Entrepreneurship Fund.

Learn more about the Government of Canada’s 50-30 Challenge.