Celebrating International Women’s Day

Throughout Winnipeg, many women gathered to celebrate International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8th. It’s a day celebrated globally to recognize women’s achievements, to raise awareness of discrimination and to continue to raise awareness of women’s struggle for equality.

I attended two events on March 8th. Mayor Gillingham hosted a lunch celebrating many of Winnipeg’s community leaders. I was honoured to be the master of ceremonies and admit that I did go off-script at various times to emphasize a few points that I think the women (and men) in the room needed to hear and understand.

I’ll share a few of these with readers — As we celebrate 150 years of Winnipeg being a city, a total of 33 women have been elected to city council, representing and bringing the voices of their wards to city hall. In this same 150 years, over 400 men have been elected to council. Winnipeg has had 44 mayors and just one, Susan Thompson, has been a woman. Personally, I find it shocking and disappointing that so few women have been involved as mayor or as councillors. I strongly believe that to have a well-run, effective government, we need to have broad representation of all residents.

Clearly, we have a lot of work to do. The next civic election will be held in 2026, and if there are some keen women who are interested in running, I encourage you to reach out to me and we can have some great discussions.

On the evening of March 8, I attended the Canada Bangladesh Association’s (CBA) Women’s Day event. Tashniba Kaiser, CBA vice president, and her team organized an evening for Bangladeshi women to gather and share personal stories over spicy samosas and tea. It was a spectacular event, and incredibly humbling. Many women shared settlement stories and tales of their journeys to starting their lives over again in Winnipeg.

So many highly educated women came to Winnipeg and experienced years of re-training, re-educating and, finally, being able to practice their chosen professions. During all this re-training, they were also caring for their families and taking care of their households. Winnipeg, and all of Canada is growing through immigration, and the challenges immigrant women experience are at another level. I’m so grateful to have been invited to the event, to learn from others, and to continue to build on the incredible strength and resilience of women in Winnipeg.

The world would be a different, and I think better, place, if more women were to elected leadership positions. So, let’s talk city election 2026 and make some changes at city hall.

Thank you Community News for covering International Women’s Day