Sometimes, They Just Can’t Handle the Truth

This researcher knows, in the pursuit of gender equality, there are rarely easy and straightforward answers. Nevertheless, she persists.


Sarah Kaplan is a Professor of Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto whose research focuses on the emerging field of gender and finance. We asked her everything from what inspired her to dive into research to her favourite European getaways in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What do you like most about being a researcher?

Having the time to dig deep into the issues. Not going with the easy answer or the answer people want to hear, but with the truth, based on rigorous research.

What advice would you give young researchers?

You have to be in it for the long run. It often takes years or even decades to generate breakthrough ideas. Every paper and project is a puzzle piece in the larger picture you will create over your career, so you have to persist over very long periods of time.

What inspired you to become a researcher?

I was dissatisfied with the desire in the corporate world for easy answers and quick hits. I wanted to be able to take the time to get to the truth, no matter how complex. People in the corporate world don’t want to hear, “it’s complicated.” They don’t want to hear, “It takes time. It’s not just one thing that you do.”

But, the truth is, organizations are complicated. People are complicated. So, my goal is to get inside that complexity and generate insight from it. After a long career in consulting, I wanted to get my PhD and take the time to do research on organizational change.

What do you like to do for fun?

Ha! Trying to generate innovative insight into solutions for gender equality is a 24/7 project. I’m a bit of a workaholic. When I need to unplug, I go on walking trips: the Cotswolds Way in England, St. Cuthbert’s Way in Scotland, the coast of Northern Ireland, the Way of St. James in France, the Grand Canyon, Via Francigena in Italy, the west coast of Iceland. No phone. No email. Just outside walking and taking photographs all day.

What’s your favourite cuisine?

I’m an omnivore. I love it all.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?

Documentary filmmaker!

If you could meet any historical figure, who would it be and why?

Sojourner Truth. She put her whole self, her whole body on the line to escape slavery and then fight for emancipation and women’s rights. She had insight into how to make change. We need those insights today.

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Research2Reality is a groundbreaking initiative that shines a spotlight on world-class scientists engaged in innovative and leading edge research in Canada. Our video series is continually updated to celebrate the success of researchers who are establishing the new frontiers of science and to share the impact of their discoveries with the public.