It is with great honour and respect that I call on constituents to celebrate International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8, on behalf of women across the globe.  I always appreciate when I hear about women taking leadership roles across our community, and I always want to do my part to encourage more active participation across the political spectrum as well from young women.

This is why I was excited to recently sponsor Jessica Boyle, a young woman from the community of Forest, to attend the Equal Voices Tenth Anniversary leadership summit on my behalf, in which young women from across Canada will have a chance to meet and interact with national and international female leaders.

Jessica recently met with me in my Ottawa office to discuss this opportunity and to fill me in on her work with the International Institute on Sustainable Development, where she works as a policy director.  I would like to wish Jessica good luck with her endeavours, and I call on all young women in our community to work hard to realize their dreams.

What is International Women’s Day?

In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on member states to proclaim a day for women’s rights and international peace.  Following the United Nation’s lead, Canada chose March 8 as International Women’s Day.

Each year at this time, Canadians celebrate progress toward equality for women and their full participation, reflect on the challenges and barriers that remain, and consider future steps to achieving equality for all women, in all aspects of their lives.

Over time, International Women’s day has grown into a weeklong series of commemorative events and activities across the country.  International Women’s Week 2011 begins on Sunday March 6 and wraps up on Saturday March 12.

We encourage all Canadians – women and men, girls and boys – to promote International Women’s Day / International Women’s Week.

What is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day?

The theme for International Women’s Day and Week 2011 – Girls’ Rights Matter/Les droits des filles comptent – focuses on the importance of equality and access to opportunity for all girls and women throughout their lives.  This theme encourages us to reflect on the situation of girls in Canada, and to look beyond women’s relative privilege domestically, to the international context.

This theme is being celebrated in conjunction with  the United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2011:  Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.  A girl who enjoys equality has a greater likelihood of being self-confident and aware of her own potential, and of being empowered to access the education, training and career opportunities that will contribute to her success in life.