Today, we celebrate women from all countries, all ethnicities, and all faiths. Today, we celebrate the fact that all women are valuable and have incredible contributions to make to society.
This year’s theme is gender parity. I believe that action on gender parity goes beyond gender issues and is, at its core, a call for all people to be treated equally with respect and kindness. Every person should be given a place of belonging and celebrated for the talents and abilities they have to offer. By making a pledge to end gender parity we are making a pledge to address biases and misconceptions that hide the true skills and talents that individuals contribute to society.
Today I want to celebrate great Canadian businesses and organizations that intentionally create environments where women are valued for their contributions, where individual strengths are celebrated and the merit of every employee is rewarded regardless of gender, race or religion.
I would not be where I am today as a young women if it were not for men that championed me and worked tirelessly to advance me in politics. This is not about us versus them but rather about everyone coming together to recognize that we are all equal parts of the community of Canada and that it remains in our best interest to put aside the stereotypes of the past.
Whether it was John Diefenbaker appointing Ellen Fairclough as the first female cabinet minister or Kim Campbell serving as the first female Prime Minister of Canada, the Conservative movement has a long history of championing women. Working with the strong women of the Conservative Caucus, including our interim leader Rona Ambrose, has reaffirmed that there are no limits to what women can achieve in politics.
Join with me in celebrating International Women’s Day and in celebrating the success we, as women, have made thus far – and to commit again to working together to keep the momentum going forward.