Because of Her: Seeking Inspiration for Gender Equality Week

From September 20-26, 2020, we recognize Gender Equality Week in Canada. This week is an opportunity to share the contributions of women and gender diverse communities, and celebrate their achievements, accomplishments and work in advancing gender equality. It’s also a chance to reconfirm our commitment to address gender equality gaps in Canada and support solutions in this ongoing journey.

In my previous role as CEO of the YWCA Metro Vancouver, gender equality was the main focus of our work, with the goal of improving the lives of women, children and families. As Lieutenant Governor, I made Equality, Diversity and Inclusion one of the key themes of my mandate and I have spoken on this important issue to engage greater inclusion across BC. Earlier this year, we delivered Commemorate 50, a public education initiative featuring campaigns and programs highlighting the outstanding work of women and gender diverse communities in advancing equality for all. For International Women’s Day 2020, I shared profiles of inspiring women leaders in British Columbia who are leading the way for women and girls.

Elevating the voices and amplifying the contributions of women and gender diverse people will always be a focus of my work as Lieutenant Governor, and I’m pleased to share resources featuring women who continue to make a difference: 

  • From CEOs to tradeswomen to activists to BC’s Human Rights Commissioner, Champions for Equality is a series of interviews done by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in partnership with the BC Gender Equity Office. These stories profile women in British Columbia whose work actively combats biases, broadens perceptions, and celebrates women’s achievements.
  • The national theme for 2020’s Gender Equality Week is Because Of You, asking Canadians to share the advocates and activists in their communities who have made an impact in improving equality in our country. The Women of Impact gallery highlights women who have contributed to politics, the arts and sciences, and countless other fields.
  • The YWCA of Metro Vancouver hosts the annual Women of Distinction Awards, recognizing extraordinary women leadership across categories such as business, education, innovation and the arts.
  • I’m proud to be Honorary Patron of Minerva BC, an organization that supports and mentors women and girls to develop their leadership skills. Minerva also supports the business community in education and improvements to encourage the recruitment and advancement of women
  • The University of British Columbia has compiled a list of inspirational Indigenous women in leadership. Their wide-ranging accomplishments include careers in education, law, health and even the role of vice regal chatelaine—Dr. Gwendolyn Point, a long-time teacher and former chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley, served in the role during the mandate of her husband, the Honourable Steven Point.
  • 100 Years of Women and the Vote is a wonderful series created by the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Learn more about British Columbians who broke ground in elections by becoming the first women to hold a variety of roles. Mary Ellen Smith, for example, was the first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1918, and became the first woman in the British Empire to be appointed a cabinet minister (without portfolio), while Rosemary Brown was the first Black woman elected to a provincial legislature in Canada. Not only can you learn about the trailblazers of BC government, you can learn about the women currently serving as our elected officials too.

Tag the women and changemakers in your life who inspire and strengthen you and your community using #BecauseOfYou and share with me on my Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.