March 8, 2021
Lighting up the Future on IWD and Beyond
Today is a remarkable day: International Women’s Day. Some might pause for reflection; some might let it pass without noticing. Today, as an entrepreneur and a woman, I celebrate.
I believe all women should have a shining path forward regardless of nationality, location, the colour of our skin, or how we identify.
Imagine: Just over a hundred years ago, Canadian women couldn’t vote — a woman was not considered a “person” in 1927. Thanks to the petition of what became known as the Famous Five — a group of five mighty women’s rights activists — women officially became recognized as people in 1929.
Before the 1960s, women entering the workforce were stigmatized — despite their efforts to keep the economy and the country going during and post-World War II. Equal pay was introduced as a concept in the 1950s, but even in 1975 women earned only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men. Finally, the 80s saw the introduction of more protections against discriminations in the workforce, including the federal Employment Equity Act. I remember — I was in the workforce at that time.
Let’s stop and acknowledge these remarkable milestones. For all the women who weathered the transitions, who forged their way through uncharted territories and along difficult paths, thank you!
There is much to celebrate today. With the likes of Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Emma Gonzalez and "Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up" activist Zuriel Oduwole (to name just a few) we are in for a bright future! These young women have no barriers, see no differences, and demand change for all. Let's honour, encourage, and stand by them in their successes as they continue to change our world.
Sometimes I feel so small in the face of the tremendous women who are forging the way forward. What can I do? I have a wonderful partner who supports a vision and mission for our company, Root. One of our missions is to be globally focused. This includes our clients, and also our team. We look to open up opportunities for women around the world within Root as we grow and evolve in a way that only a remote team can.
If we stand together and look beyond ourselves, we will see women all over who are amazing and capable: talented women who don’t have access to the workforce in their countries, highly skilled women whose childcare needs prevent them from going into an office, and more. I challenge all companies to be flexible and inclusive — to look beyond work location, to champion the freedom of choice, to provide opportunities to those who have faced disadvantages. And also, to encourage the women who have forged ahead through challenges of past decades to open doors to young women through mentorship and meaningful roles.
Today, five women and two men lead Root. And I am deeply excited about what tomorrow holds.
I cherish those who bravely yell at the top of their lungs, “We are here, and we matter!” But let’s also not forget all those wonderful men who are out there supporting us and making waves for women around the world. Together we all succeed and can truly celebrate International Women's Day.