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CSMB statement on the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique de Montréal massacre

MontrealThe Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences is currently holding its annual board meeting in Montreal on December 6th, 2019. This is the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique de Montréal massacre, where young women pursuing education in engineering were targeted specifically because they were women in a field that the shooter felt should be reserved for men. However, his anti-feminist hate extended beyond women in engineering and he went on to murder a woman in nursing and a female staff member. This violent misogyny has no place in Canada, in our educational institutions or our homes and yet we know that gender-based violence continues to exist at alarming rates in Canada.  According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation – half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 161. What this means is that many of us in CSMB probably know a woman who has experienced gender-based violence, whether we realize it or not. Indeed, 67% of Canadians say they have personally known at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse1.

On this December 6th, as we meet in Montreal, CSMB recognizes that girls and women in STEM continue to face challenges to achieving their full potential and that barriers to progress through educational and career pathways in their STEM-related fields still exist.  We know that this loss of human potential costs us all and that gender equity is better for society and in particular, better for the health and well-being of men. We know that diverse research teams lead to better outputs in science and that incorporating sex and gender+ based analyses in research is the most rigorous and best kind of science. Therefore, we must all work harder to remove misogyny from science – at all levels and in all forms, from the subtle sexist jokes in the lab or classroom, to the failure to include women in leadership positions. We must also make sure that stigma is removed and resources are available for those seeking help for abuse or mental health issues.

The executive of CSMB commits to supporting and promoting the most inclusive environment for all genders, and members of under-represented and marginalized groups in science, because we recognize inclusive science is in the best interests of all Canadians and Canadian science.



1 https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/gender-based-violence/


Additional information – Gender Based Violence – Statistics Canada


Additional Resources in support of addressing mental health, male allyship to women, allyship in general, bystander training and equity, diversity & inclusion in STEM can be found at www.csmb.ca – add a link?


Mental Health – recent articles






How can men be allies to women






Additional resources





Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in STEM




How to continually make the case for fundamental science: Arthur Wynne Gold Medal talk by Jim Woodgett

Read “How to continually make the case for fundamental science: from the perspective of a protein kinase”, a summary of Jim Woodgett’s Arthur Wynne Gold Medal talk presented at the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences annual meeting held in Banff in April 2018. This summary was published in Canadian Science Publishing’s Biochemistry and Cell Biology, one of the CSMB official journals.

Abstract: The strength of the scientific process is its immunity from human frailties. The built-in error correction and robustness of principles protect and nurture truth, despite both intended and unintended errors and naivety. What it doesn’t secure is understanding of how the scientific sausage is made. Here, a scientific journey revolving around a single protein that spans nearly 35 years is used to illustrate the twists and turns that can accompany any scientific path. Lessons learned from such exploration speak to the need for story-telling in communicating scientific meaning — and the effectiveness of this will influence future investment and understanding of the scientific endeavor.

Read the full article in Biochemistry and Cell Biology:


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Celebrating the science of the Gairdner Awards

Click the images below to learn more about the science of the 2019 Gairdner awards

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The official journals of the CSMB are Biochemistry and Cell Biology and Genome
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