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March 8: International Women's Day


On International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2023 it will mark the 111th anniversary of this important day! International Women’s Day has a long history that started in 1911. The origins actually began as a labor movement in the United States and Europe, which eventually led to the first annual celebration of women’s rights in 1908. That same year, on February 28th in New York City, 15,000 women marched through the streets demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights (National Women’s History Museum, 2021). Since then International Women’s Day has grown immensely and is now an official holiday in 27 countries across the world including Canada. On this day we celebrate how far we have come and how far we still need to go to attain gender equality globally.


As the Founder and CEO of Canadian Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging (DEIB) consultancy firm Global Learning with over 30 years of experience working with some of the largest employers across North America and having surveyed and/or trained over 800,000 employees, I am proud to be part of this global effort for gender equality as the leader of woman owned business. There is still much work to do for gender parity both nationally and internationally but there are many reasons to be hopeful on this journey towards true equity. 


In Canada alone there have been notable improvements when it comes to workplace diversity over the past few decades - especially around representation at C-suite level roles – however there is still much more progress needed. According to Statistics Canada (2020), only one in five senior managers are women and only one out of three small business owners are women - these figures unfortunately reflect that progress for gender parity has not increased substantially in recent years despite greater awareness around DEIB issues such as gender identity / gender equality. We must continue working together to ensure equal opportunities for everyone that recognizes and celebrates our identifying characteristics such as sex, gender identity, or gender expression.


This year on International Women’s Day I call upon companies around the globe to acknowledge their DEIB initiatives but also consider what else they can do further support women through their workplace policies such as creating flexible work arrangements, providing mentorship programs; increasing parental leave benefits; encouraging diversity in leadership at all levels; introducing training sessions related specifically to unconscious bias or microaggression; diversifying board memberships etc.. We must also continue advocating for more gender inclusive representation on corporate boards - a 2019 report from Credit Suisse (2020) revealed that even though Canadian firms had made significant progress since 2011 when it came to board diversity “only 26% of companies had reached 30%+ women-identifying representation on boards compared with 4% back in 2011."


At Global Learning we assist our clients in creating supportive environments which encourage participation from all backgrounds including persons of colour, differently-abled persons, Indigenous communities, and more so that everyone is included.  Our aim is always doing what is best for our clients while striving towards creating a safe space where true diversity flourishes, enabling individuals within our organization access to equal opportunities beneficial, not only for them, but also, for their families. 


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