Ashleigh Weeden (PhD Student, Rural Studies – School of Environmental Design & Rural Development) offered reflections on women’s leadership in rural innovation as the opening keynote for the PEI Business Women’s Association 2019 Spring Symposium on May 23, 2019 in Charlottetown, PE.

Ashleigh’s keynote lecture, titled “We Can Do It – Reflections on Rosie, Robots, and Rural Innovation”, offered insights into the often untold stories of women’s leadership in driving innovation and invited participants to make sure their needs are heard by decision makers. Following the inspiration of Rosie the Riveter’s iconic image – sleeves rolled up, steely of determination facing forward – as a call to get stuff done when it really matters, Ashleigh offered examples of the ways that current world systems risk deepening existing gender inequity through technology, highlighted inspiring women leaders who are confronting these issues and reshaping their communities in innovative ways, and shared strategies for women leaders to take back to their businesses and communities to help negotiate an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world.

Approximately 150 participants attended the Spring Symposium, and attendees included the first female Premier of PEI, former Senator, and current Chancellor of the University of PEI, the Honourable Catherine Callbeck, and PEI’s newly elected Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, the Honourable Darlene Compton.