Hello Chapter Member,
Happy International Women’s Day 2022! On International Women’s Day I always take time to pause with gratitude and reflect on the people who have paved the path to where we are with respect to women’s equality, and to think on what more we need to do.
In terms of gratitude, I am so thankful to every one of you in the International Women’s Forum (IWF). The way that you support, challenge, and encourage each other is inspirational and the IWF Mission of Advancing Women’s Leadership. Championing Equality Worldwide. is as important as it has ever been.
The Government of Canada has set the theme for International Women’s Day 2022 as Women Inspiring Women. When I saw this, I thought how fitting it is in describing our own IWF group. The theme is described as “It celebrates all the women and girls who inspire us by demonstrating leadership in the choices they make in their day-to-day lives to contribute to the social, economic, cultural, and political spheres". So, it is a day to take a bow, and celebrate each other, and it also a day to recommit to continue the journey.
In Canada, women have many rights and freedoms that are unfortunately not available around the world. Yet there is still work to do, particularly as we enter the recovery phase of this pandemic. The UN has said that “Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic even the limited gains made in the past decades are at risk of being rolled back". The Canadian Women’s Foundation has stated that “The pandemic circumstances have intensified inequalities related to gender, and other factors, such as economic status, race, culture, language, and other intersecting elements of our identities”. So, at IWF Canada Toronto Chapter, we will need to be diligent in continuing our work and amplifying our voices to address the urgent issues facing women across Canada.
We are also very aware of the horrific circumstances facing women around the world. In one of our recent Toronto Tuesday programs, we explored the situation facing Afghan refugees and we continue to explore how we can help. We are also profoundly saddened and horrified by the acts of aggression and terror unfolding in Ukraine. We are keenly aware of the many innocent people who will be directly impacted by these tragic situations, and what this will mean for the broader region and the world.
To those of you who are personally affected by the Afghan, Ukrainian and other humanitarian crises, I want you to know that we are thinking of you and wishing you strength and a safe outcome for your loved ones. We also want you to know that if you need assistance or support, please reach out to your IWF sisters in Toronto, across Canada and around the world - we are here to support you.
And we do encourage our members to get involved in how you can help these situations. Particularly, if you would like to support the relief efforts for Afghanistan or Ukraine through donations, here are some ideas of that some of our members have passed along:
Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan Inc.
True Patriot Love Afghan Resettlement Fund: A fund to assist in resettlement of Afghan interpreters, locally employed people and their families.
The Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal of the Canadian Red Cross: Donate to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal
The Ukraine Emergency Fund of the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) Canada Ukraine Emergency | UNHCR Canada
You may also be aware that own IWFC Toronto Administrator, Svitlana Nechyporenko, has family in Ukraine and is very involved in Toronto Second Front which is organizing relief for Ukraine. You can find out how to help on their Facebook page here Toronto Second Front.
It has never been more important that we work together on our mission – and that we work together to support each other. Thanks again for everything you do to Advance Women’s Leadership every day, my heart is full of gratitude for you all.
Toronto Chapter Chair