I love where we live and am always inspired by the great people and organizations who make a difference, not only in our community but beyond. March 8th, 2019 is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day began as a result of the hard work of labour movements in North America and across Europe. Focused on women’s rights and the right to equal participation, the day is now observed in both developing and developed countries.
The theme for this year’s global campaign is #BalanceforBetter and is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. While significant progress has been made, there is much more to do.
International Women’s Day is also a time to celebrate women who make a difference. And in Prince George, we do just that. Last year at a breakfast event I had the opportunity to introduce two women and share their stories. Colleen Fitzpatrick, National Silver Cross Mother, lost her son Cpl. Darren Fitzpatrick after he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on patrol near Kandahar City, Afghanistan in 2010. He was 21 years old and a soldier in the 3rd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Colleen and the Fitzpatrick family have provided support to other military families, organized a blood donation campaign in Darren’s memory and work continually to increase awareness about the needs of veterans and their families.
After a traumatic personal situation during childbirth, Shobha Sharma was determined to improve the lives of women in India who face significant healthcare challenges with the care they deserve. “Our Satya” was founded by Sharma to support women who live on the margins and may face discrimination because of their cultural or economic backgrounds. Her organization provides heath education, awareness and medical training.
It is impossible not to be inspired by these passionate women. They are determined to make a difference out of the pain of their own personal experience. And there are so many more stories like theirs in our community and region.
As we approach International Women’s Day, how can you make a difference? What can you do to help build a gender-balanced world? We know this, that everyone has a role to play, everyone can make a contribution, no matter how small. I look forward to sharing more stories of women who make a difference at the seventh annual “Celebrating Women Who Make A Difference” breakfast on March 1st at the Ramada Plaza.
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