Find your voice, so you can stand up for those who come after you

Name: Gina Seto | Program: Engineering Science | Graduation Year: 9T9 |

In 2003, my manager brought the entire team into a room for a meeting. It was to explain that a team member who has just returned from maternity leave had decided to resign. It was better this way, he explained, since she wanted a 9-5 schedule and our team obviously needed to work much later.

I was the only female employee in the room during this announcement. It didn’t even occur to me that speaking out was an option. It didn’t occur to me that if there was something fundamentally wrong, that nobody was going to come and tell how we would make it right.

Years later, during my exit interview, I related this incident to HR. I explained to them that it was a pivotal moment in my decision to leave and find a place that wouldn’t put barriers for women who choose to have children.

If I could go back in time, I would tell my old self that it would be better for everybody – myself, my male co-workers, and my future female co-workers – to speak out then and there. It’s not easy to do if you’ve never done it before – so start doing it now. In school. With your family. With your friends. Find your voice, so you can stand up for yourself and for those who come after you.