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March 8 is International Wonder Women’s Day

Many women, striving in 2022, didn’t grow up even imagining they’d qualify for success in business or politics. So they just don’t try.
Kim English, working with the Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen, initiated a fund that has raised nearly $1 million for Princeton flood victims. Spotlight file photo

International Women’s Day is Tuesday, March 8, and I’m thinking about leadership.

Not in the understood sense, not that official kind of leadership that gets elected or gets promoted. If it were down to just that, girlfriends, we don’t have the numbers.

According to a 2020 study initiated by the Toronto Star, women make up only 31 per cent of municipal council members across the country.

While a record number of women were elected to the House of Commons in 2019, the 98 of them only make up 29 per cent of the government.

Thirty-seven women serve as MLAs in B.C.’s legislature, 43 per cent of the total.

Last year, according to the Grant Thorton Report, 26 per cent of chief executive officers in Canada were women, and 36 per cent of senior management positions were held by females.

It’s almost like there is a sheet of glass, right over our heads.

There exists systemic barriers to women achieving which include – but are not limited to – historic sexism, gender biases and stereotyping. Statistics Canada says that women still do the heavy work at home, in addition to child rearing, and organizations don’t necessarily recognize those realities or attempt to navigate within them.

There is also that internal component. Many women, striving in 2022, didn’t grow up even imagining they’d qualify for success in business or politics. So they just don’t try.

But leadership is not necessarily about what’s printed on your business card.

International Women’s Day, which started more than 100 years ago as part of a labour movement, is about celebrating women’s advancements, advocacy and reflection. This year’s theme is ‘Gender equality today, for a sustainable tomorrow.’

So I’m reflecting on that, and don’t need to go further than the events in Princeton following the 2021 flood.

A woman, actually a college student now in her 50s, brought a considerable skill set to the management of crisis response run by the Baptist church, coordinating donations, and giving.

It was women who stepped into important roles with Emergency Social Services, providing immediate relief and comfort to those worst affected by the disaster.

Businesswomen came forward, donating, and encouraging others to follow.

We must nod in the direction of the women who work at town hall. They’ve put up with crap and abuse from the public that would never, in a million years, be directed towards those of the male persuasion.

A woman, a fire chief, held Tulameen and Coalmont together with her bare hands, and continues to do so.

Also, it was a woman (and former Spotlight employee, because we only hire the best) who started a fund that has raised nearly $1 million for flood victims.

None of that appears in anyone’s job description, but it sure is leadership.

And if I was picking a high school dodge ball team, these would be the people I would want on my side.

Happy International Wonder Women’s Day. Celebrate, advocate and reflect, and maybe try to sleep in for once.

Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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