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International Women’s Day: Thoughts from one of Canada’s most influential women

By Michael Cameron. On Mar 9, 2018.

Yesterday for International Women’s Day I did an impromptu ‘Coffee with Strangers‘ and managed to get two of the most influential women in the mortgage industry to join me for a chat. Kathy Gregory was one of them and through our conversation, she agreed to share with me her internal memo to staff. I thought it would make a great guest blog post.

Kathy is the CEO of Paradigm quest and has been named one of the 100 most influential women in Canada. She has won numerous awards for entrepreneurship as well has been inducted into the Mortgage Hall of Fame. You can watch our coffee chat here

I interviewed Kathy on my podcast a while back. You can hear that episode here.

Here are Kathy’s words to her corporate family.

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Happy International women’s day PQ Family, 

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how important this day is to me and why.  I’ve obviously been and will continue to be a strong advocate of gender and race/religion equality.  I believe it’s not only an important issue that requires my support to ensure change but a fundamental obligation.     

I dream of a day when we don’t have to talk about this.  I strongly believe achieving real gender equality begins in the home with our children. Where both parents encourage both boys and girls to dream and work hard towards being anything they want to be. Where girls aren’t just getting the easy bake-ovens and ironing sets, while boys have doctor sets and police uniforms to play with. Let’s switch it up!

Many of us dream of the day when women, our daughters our sisters and mothers, girlfriends, wives, our colleagues will be considered for their contribution and not their specific gender qualities alone. A day where every nation in the world has moved away from oppression and dominance of women to equal opportunities and rights. 

I won’t get into boring you today with mounds of statistics, but if you have time please check out the Canadian Women’s Foundation and their stats about gender equality as it is in Canada today.  

Today, on the momentous anniversary of the first International Women’s Day I feel there is a strong movement afoot. For the first time in my life it feels exciting. Yes the #timesup movement is part of that, telling the world; The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it. Not just in the media, politics or Hollywood, but everywhere. There is a fundamental horrific reason we have so many Women’s shelters in Canada. Too many women need a safe place for them to go with their children.

However, other great changes have occurred in the past year. For example a, law was passed in Saudi Arabia allowing women to get drivers licences and drive! Here  is a list of what I would characterize as tremendous positive change in the world for women’s rights.

I strongly believe there is much to do  and we need to keep this movement top of mind or the pace of change will come to a halt. I believe that what we need to ensure this much needed change in every society is the strong support of the “other” gender! It’s not a women’s issue it’s a cultural issue and it won’t be solved without men rising up with us to institute laws and stand up to men who speak about women in inappropriate ways and protect the dignity and equality of all women.  

It’s a human issue, not a women’s issue. 

Finally, if you think this is an issue just about other nations. We only have to look as far as the current Ontario PC leadership race.  Looking at the many comments online about Christine Elliot and Carolynn Mulroney for example;   I’ve read comments such as; she’s a bitch, I’m not voting for her, or Doug Ford is the only candidate, a woman can’t do this job or lead the province, they go mental once a month and I don’t watch a hormonal bitch in office; or we had a women in leadership in Ontario, it’s time to vote out women, they just all feminist lesbians.  

Yes,  we dream of a time when all women are judged on their character , their views and their ability to contribute to progress. 

Here are a few amazing speeches that I loved from many inspiring women.  I think you will love them.  I love the Australian women in parliament…wow, she was angry, but had all her facts and wouldn’t be shut down . Or Adichie, what a brilliant women, powerful speaker , author with an amazing perspective. 

International Women’s Day.   

Today is a celebration for women all around the world,

Ladies who’ve dared to dream big, ever since they were little girls.

For the diversity and talent that lie within a feminine heart,

For the courage and determination that prevents us falling apart. 

We can raise families and build businesses and be proud of all we’ve achieved

Where once over, visions of that scale, could never have been believed.

Ladies, stand up and be counted, smile at how far we have come

And Cherish every single day, as daughter, wife, companions or mum. 

Don’t let anybody tell you that there are set paths for you to follow

As a little girl with a passion, is an inspiring woman of tomorrow.

So celebrate all women, and acknowledge the great things they do

And tell a lady close to your heart, just how much she means to you.

Thanks to all of you and thanks to all of the women and men who won’t sit down for inequality,  won’t tolerate any injustice for all humans. Who care about this country, it’s future and the many injustices here and around the world.

Your thoughts?
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