International Women's Day Recognizes Women Who Inspire Others to Make a Difference

The following is an op-ed from Kelly Regan, Minister responsible
for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Thursday, March 8, is International Women's Day. It's a day to
celebrate our achievements and to take stock of our collective
progress for women and girls in Nova Scotia.

This year's theme is #MyFeminism, inspired by the role feminism
has played and continues to play in shaping Canada and countries
around the world. From early groundbreakers to today's engaged
citizens - #MyFeminism celebrates women, who inspire others
through their courage and determination to realize positive change.
You can add your voice to the conversation and tell us what
feminism means to you. 

This year, we are celebrating leaders in action - the Nova Scotian
women who helped pave the way toward equality. The Nova Scotia
Advisory Council on the Status of Women is using social media
to feature some change makers, painted by Nova Scotia artist
and writer Jo Napier. The Nova Scotia Nine can be viewed at
women.gov.ns.ca/ns9 . 

Equality is more than just rhetoric. It makes for a stronger Nova
Scotia. Women and girls make up 51 per cent of Nova Scotia's
population. Over the last four years, we have seen more women
in cabinet and Nova Scotia has gender parity on the provincial
and family court. A province where women are safe and
economically secure is a province that thrives. Our strong
women leaders over the years have all worked hard to strengthen
women's opportunities and we will continue this work together
for all Nova Scotian women and girls. 

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of
women's enfranchisement in Nova Scotia. From that first legal step
on April 26, 1918, to our Indigenous sisters fully securing the right
to vote in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, many
committed feminist Canadians worked hard to solidify the right to
vote.

There are some great examples of leadership in action today.

I am so inspired by the work of the Mi'kmaw Women Leaders
Network.  They came together to care for survivors and family
members of missing and  murdered Indigenous women and girls
as they prepared to share their truths with the national inquiry.
During the hearings last fall, they wrapped a circle of support
around everyone in Membertou, creating a safe space for all. Their
thoughtful approach to caring for families before, during, and after
the hearings has inspired other communities across the country.

I had the great pleasure of meeting the East Preston Young
Women of Excellence who - together with their mentors, Senator
Wanda Thomas Bernard and Dr. Laquita Porter - travelled to our
nation's capital this year to present to the Senate.  These young
women are claiming their place in our provinces as leaders. 

We're also working to strengthen women's advancement in the
trades and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
fields, through the Women Innovating in Nova Scotia Bursary. 
This opportunity is open to all women pursuing training in these
fields at any of the NSCC campuses. For more information on the
bursary, visit 
https://www.nscc.ca/admissions/scholarships_and_bursaries/student-awards/default.aspx.
 
This year, the Status of Women will once again host our popular
Campaign School for Women on May 25-27. This important
school has been the foundation for many of our leaders in action
today.  Please plan to attend and be part of tomorrow's leadership
by visiting http://women.gov.ns.ca/.

Nova Scotia has grown and will continue to grow through the
talents and contributions of everyone - women, men, girls and
boys.  Gender stereotypes hold us back. 

This International Women's Day, let's pause to remember our
important journey to equality, and think about how we can shape
the road ahead together in our families, workplaces, and
communities.

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Media Contact: Bruce Nunn
           Cell: 902-476-6454
           Email: Bruce.X.Nunn@novascotia.ca

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