UNENE president reflects on the 1989 Polytechnique shooting
Dec. 6 marks the anniversary of the École Polytechnique shooting, where 14 young women were killed in a gender-based attack in an engineering classroom. UNENE president, Jerry Hopwood, reflects on this day and affirms the importance of ensuring gender equality in the nuclear engineering sector.
DEC. 6, 2021 – The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, remembers the young women killed in a gender-based attack in an engineering classroom at Montreal’s École Polytechnique.
On Dec. 6, 1989, 14 young women were killed. Every year, Canada honours the victims and encourages Canadians to take action against gender-based violence through education and speaking against gender division and harmful behaviours.
Each year on Dec. 6, we remember the victims of the terrible attack on young female engineers at École Polytechnique in Montreal. I have vivid memories of the shock of hearing of this murderous event on the news that day and of the importance of being open to the reactions of young women colleagues at that time. And recognizing, year after year, that we must continue to respond, affirming the rights of everyone in the engineering profession, and all professions, to respect, fairness, and safety from aggression, abuse, and harm.
We still have far to go – but we also have come a significant way. I want to salute the young women professionals who, year after year, rise above discrimination and hostility and make their mark in their fields. So, as we reflect on this anniversary with grief and determination, we do know that progress is being made. UNENE has identified as a priority, supporting and strengthening equity, diversity and inclusion in our work and in our membership. This anniversary reminds us that this is an essential part of striving for excellence.