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International Women’s Day

Friday, 4 March 2016

International Women's Day is coming up next week, on Tuesday March 8th. In this modern era, when there is an equal number of women and men in our Canadian cabinet, do we really need such a day? I can just hear people calling for an International Men's Day (there already is one) and it makes me think of Chris Rock at the Oscars last week, asking why we need both a female and a male Best Actor category. But the fact is, sadly, International Women's Day is still relevant and needed.

In 2015 the World Economic Forum estimated that total gender parity would not occur until the year 2133.  To reach this conclusion it looked at 145 countries and ranked them according to how well each country is leveraging its female talent pool based on economic, educational, political and health based factors. And while the world has made great strides, there is still a lot of work to do.

On the list of rankings, Iceland places first. The US ranks number 28 and Canada is at 30. (We score high in educational attainment but then lose points when it comes to economic equality.) Saudi Arabia is 134 and Yemin comes last at 145.

As I look around my own world, it is full of strong, successful, trail blazing women. Not only celebrated leaders in business and politics but women you’ve never heard of with jobs and families who are rockstars in juggling it all. Women with a can-do attitude who just get sh*t done. I love women like that. I love people like that. Just yesterday I sat on a panel with Narges Nirumvala who told me about being laid off from her secretarial job years ago and when she couldn’t get a new one, decided to go to work for herself. She is now a celebrated author and world renowned communications expert listed among the Top 100 Leadership Experts to Follow on Twitter. Bam.

U.S. Presidential hopeful Hilary Clinton has said she looks forward to the day when it’s no longer notable that a woman is running for president. Here’s to that.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” and the UN will officially commemorate the day in New York City. But there are also events going on all over the world.

International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to talk to your kids – girls and boys – about the importance of gender equality, for stronger communities and a stronger, more peaceful and progressive world. Join the conversation here and use the hashtags #IWD2016 and #pledgeforparity leading up to and on March 8th.

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