Happy International Women’s Day!
(Left to right: Laura Dragone, Jessica Bradley, Rachel Weese, Olivia Nicoletti)
March 8th is International Women’s Day. Today is a wonderful opportunity to pay homage to all the women in our lives; the mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends who shape our lives every day. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is embracing equity; this theme is focused on shining a light on the difference between equality and equity.
There are often times where equal opportunities are not enough. With equality, everyone is given the same resources or opportunities. On the other hand, equity recognizes that we all have different circumstances, and, therefore, allocates the exact resources and accommodations needed to reach an equal outcome. It promotes giving everyone what they need to succeed, rather than giving everyone the same thing.
Today, we were joined by so many incredible women including my friend, and former Gloucester-Southgate Councillor Diane Deans. Diane is a passionate advocate for women in our city and began hosting events on International Women’s Day many years ago; I am very happy to carry on that tradition. She worked tirelessly on Council to advance equity issues, and always had the courage to stand up for what she believed in. Thank you, Diane, for joining us this morning. Thank you also to all the wonderful City staff and to the many Gloucester-Southgate residents that joined to celebrate with me and my team.
Thank you to our Keynote Speaker!
I want to thank everyone that came out, especially Amoune Omer, the keynote speaker. Amoune is the Executive Director of the Somali Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to education to underprivileged children in Somalia. This year’s theme is embracing equity and the work that you do to provide equitable opportunities for girls in Somali to access education embodies that theme.
At the Somali Hope Academy, enrollment has increased by approximately 30% year after year. Students come from diverse backgrounds and challenging circumstances. These include orphans, children from nomadic/pastoral families, and marginalized or internally displaced children. Our school is committed to free, equitable education. All children are welcomed, supported, and given hope through education.
With an evidence-based, purpose-driven approach, the Somali Hope Foundation knows what a critical difference education makes in many aspects of life. The school program is a rigorous one, designed to help students succeed in Bursalah and beyond.
Gender equity is important to us. Girls make up nearly half of the student population at the Somali Hope Academy. The Somali Hope Foundation and our partners work tirelessly to create and sustain a safe, welcoming, supportive educational environment in which girls can thrive.
Education empowers girls by increasing their chances of staying healthy, pursuing work, and participating in society. Education has a trickle-down effect. Educating girls increases the likelihood of their children and family members leading healthy lives.
To read more about the organization, please visit SomaliHopeFoundation.ca
Thank you to Shirley Tolley for giving a land acknowledgement
I would like to acknowledge that this event was located on the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin People. The Algonquin People have been stewards of this land for a millennia and we take this time to show our gratitude and respect.
At this morning’s event, I invited Shirley Tolley, a proud member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, to provide a welcome address. Shirley considers herself an activist and was involved in many battles especially when she was in the Public Service to improve Indigenous representation in the workforce. Today she continues to work tirelessly to engage and advance the social and economic conditions of all women of the Algonquin Nation.
Thank you, Shirley!
Thank you to our sponsor: Donnelly Ford Automotive Group
I would also like to sincerely thank the Donnelly Ford Automotive Group for attending my event and for your generous sponsorship that makes this event possible. Donnelly Ford has been sponsoring the Ward 10 International Women’s Day event for many years, and we are so grateful for their support in making this possible.