March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a celebration of the political, economic, social, and cultural achievements of women. When thinking of the strength and impact women have in society, Mississauga residents don’t need to look any further than the legacy of our former mayor Hazel McCallion.
First taking office in 1978, Hazel McCallion has built a tremendous career and made an undeniable mark in making Mississauga the great city it is today. McCallion’s legacy was succeeded by another successful female politician, current Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie.
University of Toronto alumna Mayor Crombie took office on December 1, 2014, and was re-elected to serve a second term in the 2018 Mississauga mayoral elections. Mayor Crombie discussed the significance of International Women’s Day and this year’s theme, #ChoosetoChallenge, in a news release on the city’s website.
“Equality can only be achieved if we come together, support each other, and choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, and broaden our perception of gender roles,” stated Mayor Crombie. “Join me in choosing to challenge for gender equality.”
According to Mississauga’s census statistics, women account for approximately 43 per cent of all workforce positions. Many are also making strides in traditionally male-dominant roles, such as newly appointed Fire Chief Deryn Rizzi.
“I’m pleased to be joining an organization which clearly values the contributions of women and has a history of women in leadership positions,” stated Rizzi. “I look forward to working with all of my colleagues to contribute to the tradition of excellence the City of Mississauga is known for.”
City of Mississauga
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Mayor Crombie announced that she would be hosting a virtual fireside chat with Hazel McCallion as the keynote speaker on March 8, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. The event will include discussions surrounding McCallion’s career and her experiences as a woman in politics.
“Hear [McCallion’s] reflections on her career and her choices to challenges she embarked on to make her one of the most incredible public figures in Canada,” read the event announcement. “And most importantly, what her advice is for young women and future generations in making their mark in the world.”
University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTMSU)
The UTMSU will be hosting a virtual soirée to discuss the achievements of women around the world and provide a platform to get to know the female community at UTM better. The soirée is scheduled to take place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on March 8.
Women in Science and Engineering (WISE UofT)
The WISE club at U of T will also be hosting a virtual gala in honour of the day, themed “Challenging STEMceptions: Rewriting STEM Culture,” which will discuss the advancements, as well as challenges, present for women in the STEM field. Individuals can participate in the gala via virtual conference platforms Hopin and Gather.town. The event will take place on International Women’s Day between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“The annual gala commemorates the incredible achievements of those who are changing perceptions and challenging misconceptions in STEM within their fields as a day of unity, celebration, reflection, and advocacy,” read the club’s website. “We invite you to spend an evening in the company of outstanding and inspirational individuals across a variety of fields, who will speak about their diverse experiences and the challenges they face striving for equality in STEM.”
The United Nations’ theme for this year’s Women’s Day is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world” and will focus on the efforts made by women during the pandemic.“We need women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities, and across all cultural, social, economic, and political situations,” said U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.“This is the only way we will get real societal change that incorporates women in decision-making as equals and benefits us all.”