Tori Jewell performs during the International Women’s Day Coffeehouse and Celebration at the Shuswap Pie Company from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 8. (Image credit: Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Celebrating women

Along with recognizing strides women have achieved, the need to ‘press for progress’ emphasized

It was a full house at the Shuswap Pie Company in Salmon Arm Thursday night as people packed in to pay tribute to women on International Women’s Day.

Along with celebrating how far women have come, those present were asked to continue to ‘press for progress’ because there’s still much to do to achieve gender parity for women in Canada and throughout the world.

Food and live music featuring the songs of Canadian women like Buffy Sainte-Marie and Serena Ryder added to the festive atmosphere, while speakers talked about the history of International Women’s Day, why the day is important and what each individual can do to foster a more gender-equal world.

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Speaker Paige Hilland referred to the Global Gender Gap Report 2017, which found that reaching global gender parity, at current rates, would still take another 200 years.

“Because of this, plus increased global attention to movements like #metoo, #timesup and more, there’s never been a better time to highlight the importance of continuing to press for progress,” she said.

“While we all know that gender parity will not happen overnight, there has been an increased push last year, both locally and around the world, to advance women’s equality. There’s a strong growing movement centered around advocacy, activism and support.”

According to its website, the Global Gender Gap Report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender parity across four dimensions: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.

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Salmon Arm Secondary student Jeanah Gunn expressed words of celebration and encouragement for those present.

“Celebrate our gender and our individuality and the amazing women that we have in our lives.”

Lauren Barber, a board member with the Shuswap Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Society, said she hoped people would take away from the event “a really positive great attitude and empowerment. We just love to empower women, to get everybody to be the best they can be.”

Another board member with the SAFE Society, Erin Koskimaki, said she attended because “it’s important to honour the women that forged a path for us, went against odds and stood up for what they thought was right. I’m here to support that, as well as do that for my children, and know that my girls can look forward to a better life and equality.”

Hilland asked a question of the women and men present.

“How can you help foster a more gender-equal world, what can we call on those in power to do, and what would you do within your own sphere of influence?”


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