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The fight for gender equality continues

Prince Albert NOW with Vianne Timmons 05 November 2018

The Prince Albert Council of Women hosted the Women in Leadership: Transforming Intentions into Actions event in celebration of Persons Day Monday.

Persons Day is an annual celebration held every year in October. The day recognizes the case of Edwards v. Canada, more commonly known as The Persons Case, which found that women were eligible to sit in the Senate of Canada.

The event focused on encouraging and strengthening women’s roles by empowering them to speak up and become active leaders in their communities. Dr. Vianne Timmons, president of the University of Regina, was highlighted as the event’s keynote speaker.

“The most important part of being a leader, is to be authentic,” said Timmons. “I was told that female leaders wore blazers, and dressed a certain way and I just thought … that doesn’t look like me, but I remained authentic to myself throughout everything and that’s what makes a true leader.”

Several other female leaders of the community were present Monday, including Nicole Rancourt, MLA for Prince Albert Northcote, Dr. Shelley Storey with the Community Mobilization initiative, Pat Weir, financial planner for Lawton Planners and Chief Tammy Cook-Searson of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

Students from the University of Saskatchewan, University of Regina, First Nations University, SIIT, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic were also in attendance of the event, as well as members of SUNTEP, the YWCA and the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Timmons said she believed the importance of the event was to highlight issues involving gender equality as a way to inspire men and women to work together to create a world where they no longer exist.

“The message I wanted to get across to the attendees was that in 2018 we still have huge gender gaps and we have to close them,” said Timmons. “They exist in many areas from employment, to parenthood, sexual harassment and to pay equity, and we can only change that as a society … that was my message.”

Timmons added that she believes women’s rights and women’s issues are important for not only women, but for men to take on, and that to see progress in gender issues men and women must work in a united fashion.

Monday’s event also featured a panelist discussion, in which the members spoke on individual issues they had faced in their own lives and the decisions they had made to overcome those issues.

The floor was then opened to attendees for a question and answer period during which time the panelists addressed questions to how they had dealt with struggles in their lives, overcoming sexism, mental health, and remaining true to themselves.