Community Spotlight: Vania Chan

This International Women’s Day 2021, we decided to connect with inspiring women championing inclusion at UBC to hear their reflections on this day and perspectives on a more equitable and inclusive future.

E-Learning Instructional Support Specialist
Centre for Teaching and Learning


What does IWD mean to you?
It’s a day to celebrate achievements of women, while also recognizing the challenges that remain and lie ahead.


What are some challenges around women in tech roles and women in STEM?Lingering gender role stereotypes or assumptions in tech/STEM culture can lead to workplaces being unhealthy or toxic for women. It’s not limited to tech and engineering companies, but there’s certainly high profile cases as well as personal ones friends and close contacts talk about. It’s easy to say that women in tech don’t fit in or have less time to build camaraderie/relationships because of family responsibilities. It’s a lot harder to make impactful systemic changes that make the workplace welcoming to all, and therefore healthy and sustainable.


How did you navigate through COVID and how has it changed the course of your work?
One positive is that the world opened up for me. I am now able to join communities in other cities. Before COVID-19 it wasn’t feasible to travel to another city to join a one hour meeting. Working remotely has allowed me to find more people dedicated and passionate about things important to me.


What is the one idea you want to challenge this IWD?
The commercialization of IWD makes me concerned that people will see the day as trivial. Flowers and cards are nice, but let’s not forget why the day is important. Give a shout-out to someone who deserves recognition (chances are she’s not giving herself enough kudos!), support a female-led business, learn about trailblazer or a cause that needs attention.


One self-care tip that worked for you during these challenging times.
Creating a clear separation between home and work life. I close my laptop, turn off the screen, put my notebooks away. A lot of my life is in my living room now – work, leisure, exercise. Some kind of visual separation is needed for me.


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