NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Jill Oakes

Dr. Jill Oakes

Reach for the stars, strive for excellence.

Professor, Environment and Geography
University of Manitoba

Jill Oakes is a professor in Environment and Geography with research interests in the role of women in aviation and the role of women in passing along traditional knowledge in circumpolar Inuit families.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

Teaching, research and community work

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

I am studying ways to eliminate barriers in order to increase the number of women working in the field of aviation from 6% to 50% women. It is extremely exciting to meet women who are paving the way for the next generation of aviators.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

Very diverse - meteorology, cartography, museology, GIS-related positions, parks, recreation - just about every profession has an environment or geography aspect.

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

There are three women professors in my department and about 20 male professors, I focus on the tasks we work on rather than gender issues and many of my students and Instructors are women.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

Mentor women interested in completing their masters and PhD; introduce women to job opportunities; promote women in community service opportunities.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

Providing women with female role models. Providing women with information on wide range of careers and salaries available to them - very few women realize there are fantastic science and engineering-related jobs in aviation!

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

Reach for the stars, strive for excellence and explore the fields that you find most fascinating.

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?

Other women scientists.