Today March 8 is International Woman’s day which gives us a clear opportunity to celebrate the contributions of women. As an ally, I do not wish to put words in the mouths of others, I wish however to stand behind and support the actions, initiatives and fights being led by woman leaders, from coast to coast to coast and around the world.
Our society, cultures, country and lives are enriched daily by the tireless efforts of the women with whom we co-exist. Today is a chance for us all to celebrate the achievements of all too often unsung heroines in our lives, and to renew efforts to achieving gender equality.
In a Canadian context I must note the work of five incredibly strong Albertan woman for speaking truth to power: Canada’s "Famous Five" - Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, and Emily Murphy fought tirelessly for many issues, but their most long lasting and wide-ranging struggle was for woman to be recognized as “Persons” under Canadian law. Now this might seem quaint to some today, but the struggle is not over, it has merely become more nuanced. I want to thank and show my reverence to these women for the battle they fought, for their common sense acknowledgement that yes indeed, “Women are Persons!” In more recent news, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould is in the middle of her own battle. The truths and facts are battling out in the court of public opinion and in the Judicial Committee in Ottawa. We sadly see and hear many of the same talking points by her opponents as we have heard in the past when a woman has stood her ground and expressed her perspective. Whatever the outcome, Ms. Wilson-Raybould’s belief that she is “always willing to speak truth to power” is a lesson we can all use a reminding of. It is not easy to stand against one’s colleagues, but it is important to stand one’s ground, have your perspective heard and to work tirelessly for meaningful action towards change.
I concluded my thoughts today in the words of a woman who advanced our understanding or radiation and who paid the ultimate price for her work:
“I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy” -Mme Marie Curie
March 8, 2019