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Celebrating International Women’s Day at SFU’s Surrey Campus
Each year on March 8, people from around the world come together to celebrate women's achievements and recognize the challenges they continue to face as they seek a gender balanced world. A movement which initially began in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland nearly over 100 years ago, has since transformed to all corners of the world, seeking a balance for the better.
Today, International Women’s Day seeks a call to action in supporting women in all areas to advance gender equality, and SFU’s Surrey campus is committed to be a participant in this cause. On March 8, the campus had the pleasure of hosting Women’s Economic Empowerment and Equal Opportunity: Barriers and Drivers. The event began by an opening welcome by Kwantlen First Nation Chief Marilyn Gabriel and her family – husband Kevin, son Michael and daughter-in-law to be Allie— who together transformed the room into a place of reflection, respect, kindness and love.
Drawing an inquisitive crowd of over 100, the event focused on promoting gender equality by featuring a panel discussion from women of various sectors, who shared their personal and professional experiences. Stories reflected empowering qualities – bravery, self-validation and confidence – all essential in acquiring equal opportunities.
A mobilizer of the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, this event reminded me that together we can inspire and take action to make a cultural shift that benefits us all. What I found particularly inspiring about this event was how everyone has a story., and beyond our diversity, everyone shared a passion for equality.
Many thanks to Elder Margaret George, Angela Malli, Kamal Dhillion, Christina Wong, Kristin Linklater, Kerry Gibson, Dr. Milan Singh and Sobhana Jaya Madhavan for making this an impactful event and for scaling economic empowerment for the greater good.
I would also like to thank the collective efforts of all our engaged faculty, alumni and community members that have worked to provide support for a gender balanced society:
- Ninu Kang – Director, MOSAIC (an organization that provides support to women through support groups)
- Krista Guloien – Program Coordinator, Fast and Female (a BC lead, hosting events that empower females in keeping healthy and active, some of which take place in Surrey)
- Chantel Gibson – author of How She Read
- Surrey Schools – Empowering Voices 2019
- City of Surrey – Girl’s Empowerment Program
They are true exemplars of making International Women’s Day a unified movement for women today and in the future, working to eliminate barriers and create opportunities.