Tag Archives: community

International Women’s Day Events

This year’s International Women’s Day is Wednesday, March 8th, 2017. This day started in 1908 when 15, 000 women gathered to march in New York City with demands to have shorter working hours, increased wages, and the right to vote. It has since been “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” (International Women’s Day website). The history around this day is incredible. You can find out more here.

But what is it all about this year? The theme for 2017 is #BeBoldForChange. What does that mean? You get to decided that for yourself. We may each have a different view of what needs to be changed and how to go about it. Even the website has a variety of ways we can create change for women. Through the website you can pledge how you will strive to be bold for change this year. The main points are:

  • I’ll change bias and inequality
  • I’ll campaign against violence
  • I’ll forge women’s advancement
  • I’ll celebrate women’s achievement
  • I’ll champion women’s education

Luckily, there are a few events that are happening in the Niagara region to celebrate women on this amazing day.

The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce’s Women In Niagara Council is putting on an International Women’s Day event on March 3rd which will have Teresa Cascioli as the keynote speaker. Tickets are $57.50 – $75 depending on if you are a member. The WIN council will also be presenting Rosemary Hale with the International Women’s Day Award.


On March 3rd as well, the Greater Fort Erie Chamber of Commerce is hosting it’s 12th Annual International Women’s Day Networking Luncheon at Cherry Hill Club. Tickets are $45 plus tax for members and $50 plus tax for non-members. The guest speaker will be Shannon Passero celebrating strength, perseverance, and power.

Broadband’s 25th Anniversary Performance of Women in Music Benefit Concert for the YWCA Niagara Region is happening on Sunday, March 5th from 4-7 pm at St. John’s Activity Centre. This event is to celebrate International Women’s day focusing on Women in Music. Tickets are $20 dollars with proceeds going toward the YWCA Niagara Region.

On the actual day, March 8th, Be Bold For Change event is happening at Gwen’s Teas. This will be a more affordable event happening in the evening to ensure that it is accessible to a variety of people. A $5 donation to the YWCA Niagara Region is encouraged. The focus will be on how attendees will #BeBoldForChange to close the gender gap.

If there are any events you are aware of that are not posted, please tell us! You can also let us know how you feel they went if you were able to attend one.

Tell us how you will #BeBoldForChange by tagging us on Twitter @YWCA_Niagara

Let’s Do Something, Not Nothing

101 Men: An Innovative Approach to Ending Gender Violence

By Inspectable Todd Gilmore

November 18th, 2016, St Catharines, Ontario.

Let’s Do Something, Not Nothing.

If this event was called Men 101 it might be a training event for women to better understand why some men exhibit harmful behaviour towards women. We learned during the training that women have always taken a leadership role in ending gender violence so that’s an event that’s probably already occurred many times over. Women’s leadership on this issue was easy to see at the event itself. Behind almost all the display tables of community organizations that work to end gender violence, stood a woman. As we also found out during the training, if this event was called Men 101 it could realistically be a training program that explains why not enough is being done by men to end gender violence even after men participate in this training.

I believe the group of men I was with at 101 Men Event in St Catharines, Ontario will show courage and do something, not nothing.

I’ll start with this article.

Let’s be clear the main problem when it comes to gender violence is men abusing women.  This abuse can take a number of forms including verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual. To end gender violence we learned this has to be a “men’s issue” and men in positions of power and influence, like the men with me at the 101 Men Event, need to step up. And punch up, not down, if required.

We learned that the best place to influence or intervene is by attacking language, attitudes, beliefs, and aspects of our culture that support abusive behaviour towards women or make it seem acceptable. By the time the gender violence occurs it’s too late and we’ve missed a ton of opportunities to address the root causes of gender violence that are so pervasive around us. It can be as simple as using active instead of passive language. Passive language says “how many women were raped?” while active language says “how many men raped women?”. You can easily see that using passive language takes men out of the equation when the opposite should occur and the men involved should be held accountable.

“Passive language takes men out of the equation.”

General Marsden of the Australian military said it best when he made a statement of action while dealing with inappropriate men’s behaviour in his own organization.  He said “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept.”

On Friday November 18th, 2016 I spent 8 hours with 101 Men, community leaders from across Niagara and the surrounding regions who were there because they want to take action. I saw an outstanding group of men who were there to make a change, to not walk past, to take ownership of a men’s issue and to create higher standards in their sphere of influence in order counter gender violence.

Join me in doing something, not nothing.

(Insp Todd Gilmore, OIC RCMP HNRD)

Activism: When the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

 What doejolies it mean to be a community activist?

We certainly see many examples of activism through the media such as people demonstrating in front of city hall or organizations such as Greenpeace that will draw attention to an environmental issue. We see celebrities put their name behind causes and political leaders striving to change to oppressive systems such as Nelson Mandela with Apartheid.

As much as I think this type of activism is extremely important and has had incredible impact on how we live our lives today, I think it is easy to overlook the importance of making a difference in your own community. So I suppose when I think of what it means to be a community activist it is about exactly that.  Community activists are the individuals, the unsung heroes you might say, in our community that go about making our communities better places to live.

These are the individuals that make sure that the neighbourhood school has a proper Handsroundedplayground. They have started up support groups, ensured that there are coaches for the sports teams and established breakfast programs. I hope you are beginning to see what I mean. To me community activism is about being involved in your community and helping to make it a better place to be.

I know that the theme for this month’s blogs has been leadership.  Community activism is a form of leadership as far as I am concerned. I have been a resident of Niagara all of my life and in that time I have had the privilege of seeing community activism in action. I have seen breakfast programs started, social service programs initiated, music and arts festivals develop just to name a few. All of these actions began with an individual or groups of individuals who saw a community need and did something about it. It is leadership in action.

Here at the YWCA I have the additional privilege of seeing community activism every day. I see staff members who go above and beyond to make sure that our programs and services are making a difference. I see volunteers, like those featured in our blogs this month, and the amazing work that they do to make sure our events and the issues that affect the women and families we serve are brought to the foreground. I see individuals like the brave women who have told their stories in the media of what it is like to live day to day with the realities of poverty.

I find that inspiring because for me, it shows that we all have capacity to have impact; we activismall have something that we can do to make our communities better. We don’t have to be a celebrity or part of a huge organization or a political leader to make a difference. We are surrounded everyday by ordinary people doing extraordinary things and I for one am grateful to every one of them.


Images courtesy of Google.