HUMBOLDT — Speakers, vendors, and women from across the Humboldt area gathered to celebrate and empower each other for International Women’s Day.
The Humboldt Regional Newcomers Centre, Partners Family Services, and the Bella Vista partnered together on March 8 to celebrate woman and share stories of accomplishment, entrepreneurship, and equality.
Boddy Ray, the Saskatchewan Association of Immigrant Settlement Integration Agencies’ rural co-ordinator, is proud of her previous experience in the Saskatchewan construction industry and wanted to encourage more women to not be afraid to join the industry.
Ray had to overcome discrimination on a daily basis but, reflecting on her 13 years of experience, it was empowering to work through those things, she said.
To women who want to enter that field, it is possible and important to break beyond the barriers.
“It is possible if you’re determined enough and love what you do. [Discrimination] doesn’t have to be a deterent to going into that industry.”
Ray loved every part of her job, from the manual labour to operating heavy machinery, but the comments, insubordination and opinions of others did make it difficult, but not less rewarding.
“Most of that was just proving to those people that no, I can be here.”
This was the type of message that Newcomers Centre Executive Officer Janine Hart was looking for, she said, stories of sexism that women have had to overcome.
“I believe that when we’re listening to each other, we can take that and move forward. We can look at how we can work on that equality.”
Listening is a big part of learning but being able to share our stories is important, too. Hart started her own talk off by saying “a lot of people know me, but not many people know me.”
“That’s true for many of us. We keep things inside until it’s the right platform for us to tell that story.”
Providing a platform like International Women’s Day and gathering to celebrate the incredible women that live and work in our community is so important, said Hayley Kennedy, Partners’ executive officer. The majority of Humboldt service organizations are led by women, she said.
Partners Family Services started as an organization that served and supported female survivors of domestic violence, there are still particular challenges that women face, including accessing services, Kennedy said.
While we have come a long way, there are still many issues of equality that still need to be addressed, Hart said.
Bolt FM’s Sarah Miller and Renee Reimer Horner, Aberdeen’s mayor, also shared their stories of overcoming adversity and challenges to get where they are whether through personal growth or support from their families and other women.