On Sunday, March 8 the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day. St. Clement’s celebrates on Friday, March 6, prior to leaving for March Break.
Since the early 1900s, International Women’s Day has been designated as a day to inspire women and to celebrate their achievements. This year the theme for the day is ‘Make it Happen,’ and I see St. Clement’s and other girls-focused programs around the world as hubs in which purposeful environments with girls-focused education can develop young women who are making things happen.
Not a day goes by when I don’t see our girls demonstrating their intellectual curiosity, courage and compassion; I have great confidence that we are setting up our girls and young women to take on whatever issue or passion might lie ahead. I also know that our girls, at some point in their lives, will experience inequity and frustration at times as they follow their paths through higher education, work and life. The girls’ school experience allows us and our girls to discuss, reflect and prepare for such a time.
Earlier this week I traveled with other staff members to Moose Factory, where we have built strong relationships and are blessed to be learning so much from members of the Moose Cree community. We spent time talking and learning from many people, but it was a conversation with a woman named Carmen, who runs the community’s Youth Centre, that reminded me of the power of women and the importance of ensuring the presence of environments in which to support them. Carmen has been working with Cree youth to keep them engaged in activities and learning such that they are embracing and maintaining their Cree culture while also being prepared for a positive future ahead. Carmen told us of one program, in particular, geared for young women, where counsellors work with them to teach them about healthy, equal and mutually respectful relationships. Carmen knows that women have great potential to ‘Make it Happen’ and is working hard to support this notion in her community. As I listened to her, I was reminded that our roles as educators and counsellors are essential to building foundations to ensure our girls and young women are capable and confident to make things happen both for themselves and others.
Happy International Women’s Day.