March 8 was first proclaimed International Women’s Day (IWD) in 1977. Since then, women have made great strides, but one area where progress has been slower is leadership. Women are still underrepresented in positions of power whether as political leaders, business leaders or community leaders.
- In Calgary, three out of 15 members of City Council are women.
- Women hold 1 in 4 of the parliamentary seats in the House of Commons (Equal Voice, 2012).
- Women hold only 12.5% of senior leadership positions in Alberta (Catalyst, 2012).
- Only 14.5 percent of board seats in corporate Canada are held by women (Catalyst, 2011).
- Despite the fact that women now outnumber men in levels of post-secondary education (bachelor and master degrees), women still continue to earn approximately 70% of what men earn for full-time, full-year jobs (Statistics Canada, 2009). Surprisingly, this wage gap widens as education level and age increase (Parkland Institute, 2012).
When women are underrepresented in leadership positions, there are fewer mentors for the next generation of aspiring women leaders. Studies also show that women’s leadership is good for all members of society – when women are in positions of power, they are more likely to consider the effects of decisions on the entire community rather than on a special interest group.
While women continue to seek opportunities for progress, it is also important to recognize and honor the achievements of women who have overcome the odds in leading and shaping our local and global communities.
In celebration of strong women and their achievements, please join us for a potluck celebration on March 7 (5:30-8:30pm) at the Kerby Centre (1133 7 Ave SW). Click here for event details.
We are also inviting everyone to join us for the City-wide IWD parade and celebration on March 8 (11:30am-2:00pm) starting at Stephen Avenue (at 3rd St SW) and ending at Olympic Plaza. Click here for event details.
Changing the face of power:
In 2013, we are providing opportunities for women to think more about their roles as leaders and activists for social change. In celebration of the local theme chosen for IWD, women in leadership, women are invited to complete a photo response to the question: “If I were in charge, one thing I would change is…”. Click here for more info. Click here to see a collection of the responses we have received so far.
Later this year, in June, women are also invited to attend Make One Change: A Women’s Gathering. Women’s groups and attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss the current issues impacting women in our region. At the gathering, women will be encouraged to make policy recommendations at the municipal and provincial levels of government. In addition to providing a forum for raising the voices of women in Calgary, we also plan to discuss ways participants can continue working together after the gathering. For example, building off of some of the outcomes from the gathering, some women may choose to work together in creating an inclusive women’s policy agenda that can be moved forward to impact public policies and systems.
Together, we will change the face of power in Canada!