Once again, NSERC (the national science and engineering funding council in Canada) has announced the winners of its prestigious prizes, which highlight the crème de la crème of Canadian science. And once again, the list of winners has an overabundance of Y chromosomes.

  • Herzberg Medal (“Canada’s top scientist”): man (only one woman has ever won this award, and it was last year)
  • Polyani Award: man
  • Brockhouse Canada Prize: 2 men
  • Synergy Award for Innovation: 4 men
  • E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships: 4 men, 2 women
  • Gilles Brassard Doctoral Prize for Interdisciplinary Research: 1 man, 1 woman

If you’re keeping score, that’s 3 women and 13 men, or 19% women awardees.

Sadly, this is an improvement (yes, you read that right) over previous years (17% in 2015, 13% in 2014, and an eye-rolling 0% in 2013).

This year brings the overall total to 42 women and 252 men, or a maddeningly low total of 14% women awardees.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome. When will NSERC act to improve the gender representation of women in the highest accolades of Canadian science and engineering?


Update: here’s a great graphical representation courtesy of Jeff Clements.