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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

I stayed at the Built and Natural Environment Committee until it finished at 9:30 last night. Since today is International Women's Day, I think I should sleep in and not post the outcome of the items dealt with at the meeting. Let the guys do it. They left before I did. I'll catch up tomorrow.Today, March 8, is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD). Around the city, a significant number of events are taking place to celebrate the occasion.

The kickoff here in London has traditionally been the Women’s Breakfast, a major fundraiser for the Abused Women’s Centre. Occurring early in the morning of the Friday before IWD, the event has seen increasing numbers of attendees. This year, over 500 were present and in the last few days, tickets were hard to get.

At the same time, council representation has declined. Until this year, there was always a significant turnout from council, both male and female. This year, only the mayor and Councillor Joni Baechler were present although I counted at least five members of the previous council.

It’s interesting that the councillors’ expenses were reported on the evening before this breakfast. The councillors’ expense accounts are there to enable councillors to fully engage in and represent their community, both in their wards and across the city without being significantly out of pocket as well as allow for professional development and participation in relevant conferences within the city and elsewhere.

So it’s not as if councillors would have faced financial hardship by participating in this significant celebration. It’s just unfortunate that they chose not to do so especially as it was held at a time that would not interfere with other work obligations.

In the past, under the leadership of the former mayor, council supported a number of initiatives with the Abused Women’s Centre, including more recently the “I step forward” campaign to create awareness among all city employees of violence issues at home and in the workplace. At the Women’s Breakfast, Anne Marie DeCicco-Best was recognized for her championing of these initiatives and others with a certificate of recognition and a standing ovation.

Well done, Anne Marie. Happy International Women’s Day.


Robert Austin said...

So are councilors expected to attend every breakfast/lunch/dinner/parade/gala/celebration/ribbon cutting? Are the mayor and one councilor are not deemed sufficient political representation for this august event?

How much obeisance do we expect from politicians in exchange our elevating them
to office? In addition to pressing the flesh, I understand that councilors are expected to be up on the latest agendas and reports such as the "362 legal sized pages" in the last BNEC report as per the preceeding post.

There is a life outside politics and perhaps some councilors wish to save some of that life for their selves and family.

Why's woman said...

Hey Gina,

I'm not going to be grumpy on International Women's Day! I found two terrific tributes to women today. One is Stephanie Pearl McFee's blog at www.yarnharlot.ca - she states proudly that she is a feminist and why. Another great thing this IWDay, was CBC Radio's The Current, which led off with a panel of 3 women, including one of my personal heroines, peace activist, physicist and feminist Ursula Franklin. I'm not sure if the youngest woman on the panel 'got' anything Ursula was talking about, but I'm sure you and most of your readers will. It can be listened to at http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/ part one.

Best regards, as always!

Why's Woman