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.