Centennial Year of Women’s Suffrage through Solidarity

The Cause

2016 is the Centennial Year for Women’s Suffrage. Alberta was one of the first provinces of Canada to grant women the right to vote. This was an early milestone that paved the way to women’s equality. The idea is to invite, engage and acknowledge men and boys (along with women and girls) to take action and act as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality.

The Business and Professional Women’s Club of Calgary’s founding member was none other than Nellie McClung, one of the Famous Five and the objective of BPW Calgary is to improve conditions for all women. Women are empowered, for example, through the scholarship and mentorship programs to accelerate their progress in the workplace. In addition to these two core programs, BPW Calgary also leads an educational campaign on equal pay. Women are educated on how to effectively negotiate their salaries through workshops that make them aware of the gender wage gap which exists despite legislation.

Homage to the centennial year of women’s suffrage would create a platform to highlight as role models the men and boys as well as women and girls who support gender equality. This tribute would focus primarily on the responsibility that men and boys have in eliminating all forms of gender discrimination. It would also spread awareness on the gaps faced by women and girls, and, how men and boys can step up as advocates to promote equality.

BPW Calgary will officially launch the (1) “You Are Worth It” module and distribute workbooks customized for women in Alberta to focus on negotiation skills in the workplace, and, (2) Circulate the book titled “In the Hoofsteps of Emooly Murphy”, which promotes the rights of boys and girls, to students through schools and libraries across Calgary.

Who Will it Benefit?

The centennial ceremony will bring together government officials, human rights advocates, men and women’s organizations, civil society leaders, business persons, professionals, academics, employers, employees, students and the general public to focus on gender equality. This is not about women or men but about creating a collective vision of human progress for all.

The “You Are Worth It” Alberta module will reach women who are entering and/or transitioning in the workplace to position them to negotiate effectively for fair and equal pay. This will in turn benefit families, communities, and the overall economy.

The Children’s Book titled “In the Hoofsteps of Emooly Murphy” will introduce children to the basic principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The age appropriate story revolves around the Calgary Stampede and a calf, Eva, who watches her mom, the cow be paid less than the bull for the same job of giving rides to entertain children. Eva rallies the community and receives attention from City Stall to change this unfair practice. This book has already been introduced to the Girls’ schools in Calgary and has proven to be quite valuable. It needs to reach boys and girls in all schools across the city so that all children can be empowered and foster respect for Canadian values. This will have an impact on students and families including future generations of employers and employees.