International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide as a time to recognize women’s accomplishments and as a call to action to advance gender equality. Canada’s theme this year is “innovate for change.”
“I look at the wall that’s over to my right and we have all the previous female MLAs, and I think what an honour it is to be included in that group,” says New Brunswick Attorney General Andrea Anderson-Mason.
As the second female attorney general, Mason says her biggest challenge was balancing work and being a mom.
“One of the focuses I have is looking at child care for women in the province of New Brunswick. It’s a real issue and I know that it’s something that our government wants to tackle and take on,” said Mason.
According to the Department for Women and Gender Equality, less than 5 per cent of CEOs in Canada are women, and women-owned businesses accounted for only 18 per cent of all private enterprises.
“We’ve had great progress but let’s look at where a lot of the power lies, and it still does not lie with women,” said Dr. Erin Schryer, the executive director of Elementary Literacy Inc.
According to the federal government, women are under-represented in fields like science, technology, engineering and math.
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Women hold roughly six per cent of all skilled trades jobs across Canada. They also account for only 27 per cent of the manufacturing workforce, despite a shortage of workers in this sector.
“Women get out there — we need you, society needs you, and you can do the job,” said Sherry Wilson, the Service New Brunswick minister.
International Women’s Day has been sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, and celebrates women’s achievements and aims to further their rights.