Beyond Women, Beyond Men: Gender Diversity Challenges for Universities

Presented 2 February 2017 at the Quality Network for Universities Conference sponsored by The Conference Board of Canada, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Universities can play a central role in the articulation and creation of social change. However, universities are usually not the initial drivers of such change. Particularly in the context of gender diversity, social change has often been driven to universities by grassroots activism and the eventual entry of such activists into the academy. It was the increasing visibility of trans and gender-nonconforming patients with questions doctors couldn’t answer and the gradually increasing presence of openly trans-identified medical students that drove medical schools to begin updating their curricula. In the realm of business and entrepreneurship, it has been the identification of market needs that has often first pushed forward diversity initiatives, not a trickle-down of academic scholarship on their merits and ethical imperatives. For example, the Greater Vancouver and Victoria areas have seen recent growth in start-ups and professional occupations that haven’t been taught or studied: transgender and gender diversity consultancies created, owned, and delivered by trans- and non-binary identified individuals. No doubt these will be eventually included in business curricula. Read More