Wednesday, March 8, 2017 1:00 pm ·  1 Comment
By Pam Damoff
International Women’s Day (IWD) is about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action. This year’s IWD theme encourages everyone to be bold for change. Men and women are encouraged to be bold in their conversations, expectations and actions that call for gender parity and the empowerment of women and girls in Canada and around the world.
The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. And while we have come far, significant challenges remain. According to Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington and Vice-Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, Canada cannot become complacent about gender equality.
We must commit to creating opportunities for women and girls to achieve and succeed by fostering systemic change and providing various forums for powerful female voices to be heard. Today, in honour of International Women’s Day, I am pleased to launch my Young Women in Leadership Program, which will offer young women in Oakville North-Burlington an opportunity to job-shadow in a local business, agency, organization, or government.
Work experiences are a critical component of preparing youth for transition to adulthood. The Young Women in Leadership program aims to support young women in developing an understanding of different occupations in order to make informed career choices, introduce young women to specific occupational skills and workplace settings, allow participants to gain career readiness skills including the “soft skills” that employers look for in entry level workers and build confidence in professional environments.
The need for a career shadow initiative for young women came out of a roundtable on women’s empowerment that MP Damoff hosted in her riding on International Women’s Day last year. The program will take place during the week of May 22-26, 2017. Participants will be paired with an organization that relates to their career interests and aspirations. The placements can be full-day or half-day.
Young women in high school, college, university, or new to the work force who are interested in participating must apply by April 21st. You can find the online application form at www.MPDamoff.ca.
Businesses and organizations in Oakville North-Burlington that wish to participate in MP Damoff’s Young Women in Leadership program are asked to contact Josh Regnier by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-847-4043. The deadline for businesses to apply to participate is March 31st.
On International Women’s Day an historic event called Daughters of the Vote (DOV), organized by Equal Voice Canada, took place in the House of Commons Chamber. 338 “Daughters of the Vote” delegates—each woman representing a federal constituency in Canada— were invited to occupy their Member of Parliament’s seat in the Chamber as the representative for their community.
Equal Voice’s “Daughters of the Vote” was created to ensure women are dynamic and equal participants at every political decision making table in the country. Tarini Sharma is Oakville North-Burlington’s Daughter of the Vote. Tarini is finishing her degree in Economics and Gender and Women’s Studies at McGill University. Last summer she completed an internship at the Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services of Halton (SAVIS) in Oakville.
MP Damoff continues to work to advance women’s economic security and prosperity, and advocate for equal pay by creating a federal gender-based violence strategy and action plan, ensuring workplaces and communities are free from harassment and sexual violence and empowering women and girls to fulfill their potential as equals in society. And while there are many advances to celebrate in 2017, MP Damoff notes there is still a long way to go.
We are still working for equal pay and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. In my role as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, I look forward to continuing to advance women’s economic security and prosperity, supporting the Minister in the creation of a federal strategy on gender-based violence, ensuring workplaces and communities are free from harassment and sexual violence and empowering women and girls to fulfill their potential as equals in our society. I hope all Canadians will be bold for change and join me in continuing to push for equality for women in our community, across Canada and around the world.