Diversity and inclusion are both fundamental to a more inclusive society, where all Canadians are able to participate and thrive.
Canada is home to diverse women with a rich linguistic, ethnic and multicultural diversity. This includes newcomers, immigrants and refugee women of color who have chosen Canada as their home. The journeys to their settlement are stories of hope, resilience and promise but have recently been marred by the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic has impacted Black women and women of colour the most, disrupting their careers and their ability to contribute to the workforce. The pandemic has also shed a spotlight on all inequities and exacerbated the already long-standing systemic barriers through the glare of systemic racism, gender inequalities and related inequities in employment, income, healthcare, housing, family and resources. Recent research has also found that Black women and women of colour were more likely to be laid off or furloughed, while working mothers were picking up more of the childcare and household responsibilities.
Despite these harsh trajectories, these women have time and again triumphed with resilience. Resilience has been interwoven in their journey as they navigate their dreams and aspirations through cultures and social processes, and advocate their rights often governed by gender inequality and everyday discrimination. This is the norm for most racialized women. History is witness to their resilience and perseverance, enduring challenging times while reinforcing their faith in compassion and humanity and keeping hopes alive for a better world. The recent global movements spotlighting Black Lives Matter have renewed calls for justice, equality and diversity, but there remains a gap in women’s representation in shaping the conversation, sharing their diverse perspectives and inspiring other racialized women. The Black History Month presents an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Black women in Canada who have molded the future of a multicultural Canada.
The Diverse Women of Canada: Stories of Resilience event is a testament to the resilience of racialized women and aims to celebrate racialized newcomer, immigrant and refugee women who form an integral demographic in Canada’s population. The event organized by Skills for Change and supported by the Government of Canada, will bring together 20 women from diverse backgrounds to acknowledge their remarkable journeys highlighting thematic topics on empowerment, leadership, equality, employment, education, entrepreneurship and mental health and wellbeing. The event will provide a reliable and safe knowledge sharing platform where women will share their authentic stories, be heard, highlight challenges unique to women of colour and build a community that fosters integrated thinking and develops innovative approaches to tackling challenges such as racism, microaggressions in the workplace, systemic bias, discrimination and related inequalities. The event also provides the chance to build solidarity, seize opportunities to reshape narratives and to rebuild a fairer, more equitable, inclusive and resilient recovery that celebrates Canada’s growing diversity.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the event will be held on 9 March 2021 with the objective to promote intercultural understanding of Black women and women of colour while celebrating their unique heritage and culture in respective ways, creating more awareness about Canada’s diverse and inclusive society. Through the event we hope to inspire more women to emerge as leaders and to mobilize support for their further integration in the Canadian economy, raising awareness of the unique challenges they face, and work towards enabling societal behavioral changes through an enlightened mindset and create a network of respect. These inclusive and equitable outcomes are essential to ensure that racialized women are not left behind as Canada continues to embark on rebuilding better.
The event running from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. will be broadcast virtually via pheedloop, streamed and shared on different social media platforms, including YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It will be preceded by a two-hour networking session providing for deeper engagements between participants. A subsequent multimedia campaign will profile the stories of 20 racialized women, their achievements, lessons learned, resilience and journey of overcoming obstacles only unique to Black women and women of colour.
Join us on March 9 to celebrate the stories of resilience of Black women and women of colour, their heritage and applaud their accomplishments while uplifting all racialized women with a message of hope, recovery, reconciliation, peace and unity to progress as a multicultural and inclusive Canada.
“This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.”, “Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grâce au gouvernement du Canada”