International Women’s Day has been celebrated across the world for over a century. Since 1911, thousands of events have been organized to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.
In honour of International Women’s Day on March 8, we asked some extraordinary women in the community about changes they think have helped bring equality for women over the past 100 years.
The Women’s Enterprise Centre supports entrepreneurial women in Manitoba. What is the biggest change you’ve witnessed, that has had an impact on women entrepreneurs?
I would say that the biggest change we’ve seen is the recognition of the importance of women’s entrepreneurship as a beneficial economic force. What has followed is a variety of supports for the development of start-up and expansion of women-owned businesses that we think is very positive and that will make a real difference over time.
— Sandra Altner, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Centre
As a woman who has held a variety of executive positions, what change do you feel would be necessary for more women to be able to reach senior positions?
When I look back at the history and the growing commitment to women’s equality we have seen many gains. To keep positive change happening, organizations must focus on inclusion and diversity practices. They must mentor and develop women as well as ensuring work-life balance. The culture should proudly demonstrate a commitment to female leadership through all levels. I am proud that there are many activists working at different levels on equity issues. I believe that social media will have a positive impact.
— Margaret Day, Board Chair, Assiniboine Credit Union
As COO, you are in a senior position that constantly drives change. With this year’s theme of Inspiring Change – what inspiration can you give to women about facing the adversity of and thriving in change?
As a leader at ACU, I’ve played an important role in guiding change in our organization, and I take pride in being able to encourage women to succeed at all levels. I am proud to work for ACU, an organization that not only believes in gender balance but practices it as evidenced by the makeup of both our senior management team and our Board of Directors. We have many success stories at ACU, and I’m inspired as more and more organizations recognize the value of including women in leadership roles.
— Mona Forsen, MBA, Executive VP and COO, Assiniboine Credit Union