BY: ALYSSA MAHADEO
The strength of women has been demonstrated and tested through each passing decade. Gone are the years where women were considered inferior to men, now fighting for their own rights to be treated as equals and allowed the independence they can achieve through their own greatness.
For years women have been treated as fragile, delicate creatures that need to be managed with the utmost care, and while each new year brings more challenges directed at women, women have never backed down; they rise to the occasion and meet those challenges head on. Women are the pillars and strength of the community; they are the glue which bonds families together, and they are the nurturers of future generations.
On March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s women’s day campaign is to ‘Be bold for change,” prompting women to band together in an effort to help forge a better working world, one that is more inclusive and gender equal.
Last year, organizations and individuals around the world supported the ‘Pledge For Parity,’ a campaign committed to helping women and girls achieve their ambitions; challenge conscious and unconscious bias; call for gender-balanced leadership; value women and men’s contributions equally; and create inclusive flexible cultures.
According to the World Economic Forum, they predict that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. This is much too long to wait. Around the world, IWD can be an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity.
In celebration of women throughout the GTA, CEO and Founder of WOMEN of ACTION, Catherine Anne Clark organized a public and intimate conference for Women’s Day 2017 at the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto, inviting women to take charge and lead the shift, by taking action and influencing the inevitable changes that will take place in the coming year.
Inspired by “The Butterfly Effect,” a term coined by Edward Lorenz that describes the concept that small causes can have large effects, WOMEN of ACTION is delighted to celebrate the lives of powerful women, leaders devoting their lives to the empowerment of women through a mission of creating awareness against unsavory actions against women.
“Catherine is a truly inspired visionary, a woman that through a journey assisting another young woman experienced her ‘aha’ moment. This awakening showed her that our world’s women needed to begin the Celebration of Positive Action on our globe that is being accomplished by many unsung and sung women leaders.” Armed with over thirty years experience as an entrepreneur, with a history ranging from hospitality, financial planning, global commodity trade, manufacturing, child care, senior care and of course – motherhood, Catherine now acts as advocate for the Women of our World, celebrating the milestones of achievement of our world’s women leaders working on the front lines creating positive change in all areas of life.
Women empowerment is a global phenomenon that is reaching all areas of life and our world today. On Sunday women came together to celebrate their strength and courage by sharing their personal journeys of finding themselves, navigating the world dominated by men, conquering their fears and learning to embrace who they are and partake in the self-love movement.
Throughout the day guests were invited to listen to speakers such as Lorree Appleby, Nisreen, Mama-Foda, Carol Starr Taylor, Catharine Allan, Shalini Dharna, Carmela Lamanna, Mary C. Fidilio, Helen Snell, and Ameera Ameerullah. Each of these women brought a unique experience to share with the audience coming from all different walks of life, and professional background. A common theme among each of the talks dealt with self-love, focusing on self-discovery, identifying your passions, and overcoming the daily obstacles and chaos of everyday life. Many of the women shared very personal experiences of finding their truth, coming through the darkest of times, and then using their experience to help others.
Each talk was tailored to make the audience partake in some introspection, whether it was providing healing energy, asking for forgiveness, changing their perception, or freeing themselves from the prison they put themselves in whatever form it might take. Freeing yourself from the prison you have put yourself in.
“I work to empower everyone I meet,” shared Kym Niles, wellness coach at I Can & I Will. “My personal mantra is to leave you better than I met you.”
Many who face difficult times or the challenging obstacles that come in life many times assume the role of a victim. They become hopeless, things don’t seem to work in their favor however, all of the women that spoke at Sunday’s celebrations were proof that you can come out victorious in the end. It might take some time, lessons will be learned, but many of these women have found the light at the end of the tunnel and come out as better women because of it.
Live music lunchtime entertainment was provided by Rose Cora Perry & The Truth Untold, with specially catered food by the Hard Rock Cafe. In the afternoon guests were encouraged to get active with a special Piloxing workout lead by Nikki Monique, a talented, outgoing and passionate Solopreneur with a Wellness & Fitness business that enriches the lives of women, children and their single parents. Her unique workout had the audience on their toes with a combination of Pilates, Boxing, and Dance routines to get their blood pumping and heighten the energy in the room.
In addition to the speakers, exhibitors lined the room displaying their products and services offering a variety of products like cruelty-free makeup, jewellery, natural health products, holistic life solutions as well as handmade products, and organizations interested in spreading awareness of their cause. The event sponsored two important organizations in support of women’s rights and advocacy including The Assaulted Women’s Help Line and Amnesty International.
To end the day guests were treated to a special dance performance by Sabrina Shyne and giveaways sponsored by various exhibitors in attendance.
International Women’s Day 2017 and beyond will thrive by taking ground breaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women. Each one of us, with women, men and nonbinary people joining forces, can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold and meaningful actions to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.
BE BOLD FOR CHANGE! The women of today, shape the world for the generation of tomorrow!