Advertisement
Politics

Canadian women’s empowerment in the workforce leads International Women’s Day

WATCH ABOVE: Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau and federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu speak about women's empowerment in the workforce as part of International Women's Day.

On International Women’s Day, the talk at Mandy’s Vieux Port, a well-known gourmet salad restaurant in Montreal, was all about women’s empowerment in the workforce.

READ MORE: Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau starts off UN girls’ summit with pep talk

“We are facing the truth that women’s potential isn’t encouraged as it should be and we are living so many inequalities right here in our own country,” Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau told Global News Thursday morning.

She joined federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu to hear the stories of young women professionals, women entrepreneurs and women with young families.

READ MORE: Emma Watson and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau go for a Vespa ride

“It is proven that when women enter the workforce and find their full potential, their families are healthier, there are more opportunities for women, there’s an impact economically, psychologically, physically on our society at large,” said Grégoire-Trudeau.

Story continues below advertisement

Find one ally in the workforce, she offers as advice.

READ MORE: Trudeau government reveals the 2018 federal budget

“The more we reach out and become vulnerable and share our stories, the more people we will meet that will unite and help us to achieve more equality,” Grégoire-Trudeau explained.

WATCH BELOW: Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau uses own struggles to inspire young females

International Day of the Girl: Sophie Grégoire Trudeau uses own struggles to inspire young females
International Day of the Girl: Sophie Grégoire Trudeau uses own struggles to inspire young females

Canada’s 2018 federal budget emphasized gender equality, pinpointing efforts to increase the participation of women in the workforce as part of a longer-term plan to grow the economy and prepare for an aging population.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Gender gap issues at the forefront on International Women’s Day

“If we want to have a prosperous country, if we want to continue to have a successful economy and healthy and happy people, we have to do it with the foundation of equality,” said Hajdu.

“We cannot get to that place if half of our people are left behind.”

Tweet This

It also included measures to increase the number of women entrepreneurs, as well as women in trades, science, technology, engineering and math.

Women working to break down barriers on International Women’s Day, Thursday, March 8, 2018.
Women working to break down barriers on International Women’s Day, Thursday, March 8, 2018. Rachel Lau/Global News

“We cannot begin to talk about women if we do not share our experiences,” said Niousha Riahi, a lawyer.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: 5 things we asked Homa Hoodfar on International Women’s Day

“If there are less women in businesses, it makes them more vulnerable, it makes their lives more difficult if they have less women colleagues.”

For the many young women in the room, March 8 brings a sense of hope.

READ MORE: Who is Homa Hoodfar?

“It’s a day we take to celebrate, to maybe put more emphasis on the work that has been done and the issues and projects and budgets,” said Medjine Antoine-Bellamy, a logistics coordinator at Social Leadership in Action (SLA).

“But it’s something that we’ll also be working on tomorrow and the days to come.”

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH BELOW: ‘I stand here with you’: Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau addresses Sisters in Spirit vigil

‘I stand here with you’: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau addresses Sisters in Spirit vigil
‘I stand here with you’: Sophie Gregoire Trudeau addresses Sisters in Spirit vigil

Yet, they acknowledge that there is still a long way to go, especially for women entering the workforce for the first time.

“It inspired me to also recognize the special struggles that women feel and it should be something we should work more on,” said Sara Couture, a member of the youth council.

READ MORE: Calgary entrepreneur celebrates International Women’s Day with inspiring story of overcoming obstacles

“Women or girls, when they start working and not knowing what their rights are. We all struggle through that.”

Couture said she remembers working as a waitress and being harassed.

Story continues below advertisement

“People would change it into a joke but it’s no joke,” she told Global News.

Tweet This

“I feel like now we’re asking people to respect us as women and respect the struggle that we live through.”

WATCH BELOW: Emma Watson and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau go for a Vespa ride

Emma Watson and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau go for a Vespa ride
Emma Watson and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau go for a Vespa ride

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

— With files from Canadian Press

Global News Redesign Global News Redesign
A fresh new look for Global News is here, tell us what you think
Take a Survey

Sponsored Stories