December 16, 2020
By Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press
Nancy Tower knows just how important help from the highest echelons of corporate Canada can be for someone trying to break into the old boys’ club.
She was a promising worker when she started at Halifax-based energy company Emera Inc. in 1997, and said a “gender-blind” CEO gave her some advice that helped her ascend to become the president and chief executive at subsidiary Tampa Electric.
He prodded her to get experience in all areas of the business, making her a more well-rounded executive candidate, even if it was lonely at times.
“I was chief financial officer of Emera for six years and when I would attend conferences, most of the CFOs would be male. I didn’t have a lot of female colleagues,” Tower said. “I think the utility business does tip toward more males in senior positions.”
Despite the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements spurring a push for change across corporate Canada, data show the country’s most powerful companies haven’t made much progress since Tower’s ascent.
Women are still significantly underrepresented at the top ranks of Canada’s most prominent and powerful companies. The figures are even lower for Black and Indigenous women and other marginalized groups.