Over 130 men and women, individual and group representatives, gathered today, March 8th, to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Bernice Hancock, Chair for the BSG Women’s Centre’s Board of Directors, thanked and welcomed all for taking the time to celebrate in solidarity. She spoke of the “importance of recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of all women who have come before us and who are with us today.” She encouraged each to support and listen to each other, to take value in the work of all women to “create a bold new vision of a world where we are safe, supported and equal.”
Following a hearty brunch, Jenny Wright, Executive Director of St. John’s Status of Women, delivered an empowering keynote address. She congratulated many women’s groups, particularly those in rural Newfoundland and Labrador for being bold in the women’s movement, having seen countless successes, among them being the BSG Women’s Centre who organized and held the first peace walk in Newfoundland.
Ms.Wright regarded how women are bold from the time they wake up in the morning, until they put their heads back on their pillows, in every aspect of their lives. Bold in their choice to marry and bear children; bold in their choice of career even when faced with a salary inequality; bold when running for political or leadership role, quoting “there have only been 39 female MHA’s since 1949.” She spoke of how it is time to not be silent anymore, that “women want change.” She encouraged the audience to remember that it was not formal organizations that are responsible for feminism and change in our province, but “that much of the change came because one woman stood up and said this is not right.”
Although women and girls all come from different places in their lives, each has the ability and power to make change. She shared 14 opportunities for action and reflection, something she created in honour the 14 women murdered in 1989 during the Montreal massacre.
College of the North Atlantic, Community Studies student, Miranda Targett was the recipient of the Stephanie Cormier Chaisson leadership award. Presented in honour of a dedicated woman from the Bay St. George area, who is remembered as being a “devoted mother, dedicated worker, who was born a leader.”
Wrapping the afternoon’s events, Executive Director of the BSG Women’s Centre, Janice Kennedy, declared she and her staff would be closing for the day at 2:44 pm this afternoon. A symbolic stand to show support for equal pay, she encouraged everyone to join the efforts in making a stance regarding the gender wage gap. In essence, women get paid for 82% of their work hours, in relation to men’s 100% pay.
Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.
To all women and girls worldwide…#BE BOLD FOR CHANGE!