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Celebration of International Women’s Day

It’s never too early to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. As in previous years, BCCTC kick-started the week’s celebrations with a joint event with the UK Consulate in Toronto, "Women of Influence Afternoon Tea" on Tuesday March 5th.  This year we were overjoyed to be celebrating IWD at the official Residence of the UK Consul General, Fouzia Younis MBE.

As the first Muslim woman to hold a diplomatic post at this level within the UK Government, Fouzia epitomizes the objective of this Day: accelerating women's equality.

Progress in Canada on pay equality has been painfully slow: this week the Canadian Chamber of Commerce published “Barely Breaking Ground: The Slow Stride of Progress for Women in Business Leadership and Entrepreneurship” from the Business Dala Lab.  Their data shows that less than 36% of management positions in Canada are held by women; and even when women do reach management positions, they are paid, on average, just 88% of what their male colleagues are paid.

"I find these stats alarming given the amount of attention – lip service? –  given to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion issues today. Gender equity should be one of the most straightforward, no-brainer dimensions to tackle and yet look at these numbers! Values only matter when they actually drive behaviour. Every sector and organization should be digging deep to dramatically move the dial on something so fundamental!" said Jeannette Hanna, Chief Strategist at Trajectory, BCCTC member specialists in Branding, Strategy, and Design.

Financial services firm PwC published a report last week showing that the data from the UK are not much better: on average, UK women earn only 90% of what their male colleagues are paid.  Closing this gender pay gap would add GBP 55 Billion to women’s incomes.  Increasing women’s participation in the paid economy would increase GDP by approximately GBP 125 Billion.

The theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is #InspireInclusion and this was a key element of the Consul General’s speech to those assembled at her Residence.  Ms Younis encouraged us all to actively work with each other to Inspire Inclusion, to improve the culture in the workplace, to make it more supportive of women throughout their lives.

We are extremely grateful to all those who attended the event and committed to making a difference including The St. George's Society Toronto, and The Honourable Company of Freemen of the City of London of North America. In particular we would like to highlight Parsai Immigration Services and Diageo Canada and thank them for helping us make this event possible.


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