“Our goal for this project was to tell the stories of 150 women who have shaped our community since before Confederation,” vice-president of YWCA Elsbeth Mehrer said.
The She Who Dares exhibit was created to shine a light on women who are often under-represented in the history books, or whose contributions don’t seem to count in the same way that men’s contributions do, Mehrer added.
YWCA Calgary wanted to celebrate women who were the first females in their industry, women who started art festivals, and women who contributed to the economy in a large way.
“Being able to share, tell some of the stories, and celebrate that those contributions matter, is what we were trying to do,” Mehrer added.
YWCA Calgary supports women who are going through a crisis, unemployed, suffering from domestic violence, or seeking shelter, Mehrer added.
“International women’s day is an important day to reflect on the state of women in Calgary.”
Mehrer added, “This day has been observed for many years with an eye to recognize the continued inequalities.”
Although there have been movements to ensure gender equality, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, Mehrer added.
“Pay equality, and recognizing equivalent work with equal pay, to me, is the next front.”
It’s about thinking to yourself, what would you do differently if you knew better?- Elsbeth Mehrer
As gender diverse people, its important to be introspective and think about how others are upholding their values, and challenge someone else who may have made a sexist comment, or is holding someone else back.
The statistics and evidence is clear as to why we as a society need a women’s day, Mehrer added.
“Women in Alberta are earning 68 cents to every dollar that a man earns.
“This battle for equality isn’t done yet. Inequality actually hurts all of us, it holds men back too when women can’t fully participate and contribute to the community,” Mehrer said.