This week marked International Women’s Day 2023 on Wednesday, March 8.
Themes included those just mentioned from IWD, Government of Canada, and United Nations.
On International Women’s Day – and every day - Home Suite Hope celebrates the hard working and successful women at HSH, along with all those women who support HSH – from Board members and mentors to volunteers, donors and community cheerleaders - as it works to remind the single mothers in its program that their dream is within reach and to support them in achieving those dreams and more.
Celebrations kicked off early on March 2 with the the YWCA of Halton Hamilton 2023 Women of Distinction Awards. HSH Executive Director Sara Cumming was nominated as a Woman of Distinction as the awards shine a light on the women and girls who build Hamilton & Halton.
The Awards Gala at the Hamilton Convention Centre was attended by HSH staff, Board
members and supporters. The event was hosted by media personality Val Cole with special appearances by Layne, The Auctionista.
Dr. Sara Cumming is an award-winning applied sociologist with a PhD in Sociology from the University of Waterloo. Sara’s doctoral work focused on the intersections of gender, social policy, and work for lone-mother families across Canada. She has expanded her work to focus specifically on collaborative and participatory approaches to solving community-based issues for vulnerable populations.
Sara is a Professor at Sheridan College, in addition to being the Executive Director of Home Suite Hope, an organization supporting single-parent families from poverty to potential. Sara leads with years of lived experience as a single parent who exited social assistance through a
personal education and employment pathway.
‘Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #EmbraceEquity’
IWD’s #EmbraceEquity shows equity is a must-have, that gender equity needs to be part of every society's DNA and that it is critical to understand the difference between equity and equality.
The IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign aims to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.
The Government of Canada’s IWD 2023 theme is Every Woman Counts and is a reminder women, from all ages and walks of life, have a place in every aspect of Canadian society, including in the economic, social and democratic spheres.
The United Nations Observance IWD 2023 focuses on ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality’ and recognizes and celebrates women and girls championing advancement of transformative technology and digital education. It explores the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities, and spotlights the importance of protecting women’s and girls’ rights in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.
HSH wished everyone a happy IWD 2023.
On Thursday, March 9, Sara delivered the closing address at Oakville-based Miix Analytics IWD 2023 #embraceequity event in Toronto.
The second annual Miix Analytics International Women's Day event featured a networking breakfast, a welcome by Hilary Borndahl, Founder and CEO of Miix Analytics and her daughters, followed by a keynote address by Canadian television personality, Sangita Patel, of Entertainment Tonight Canada. There was also a Youth Panel, EDI defined, Equity Research presented by Ethnicity Matters and an Embracing Equity Panel discussion featuring Jennifer Lo, Vice President of Marketing, Irving Consumer Products, Vaishali Mohan-Hollands, Digital Delivery and Transformation, Equitable Bank, and Paul Gaudette, CEO and Co-Founder, Dig Insights.
Next week, HSH is hosting Women, Wellness & Wine Wednesday, March 15 at The Oakville Club.
On IWD this week, Sara also attended the Halton Women’s Place IWD 2023 luncheon that featured speaker Amy Kaufman, who shared her harrowing experience of abuse at the hands of her now ex-husband, a media personality.
Jonah Keri, formerly a prominent Canadian sports journalist, pleaded guilty to charges of assault, criminal harassment and uttering death threats, dating from July 2018 to January 2019. In the spring of 2022, he was sentenced to 21 months in jail.
The ruling has been hailed for recognizing patterns of coercive control within intimate partner violence.
And while IWD celebrations shine a light on women, Sara also celebrates male allyship.
For example, Mohamed Banda is one of the many researchers from Sheridan College with whom Sara partners to do work in the community.
Mohamed is a professor in Sheridan’s Faculty of Social Science and the Humanities. He has a BA (Combined Honors in Sociology and Political Science from York University), a B.Ed. in Intermediate/Senior high school (in Social Science and Politics), and a registered Ontario certified teacher (OCT) with teaching experience in the public school system. He has a MA in International Development Studies, and MES in Environmental and Urban Studies from York University.
Mohamed is also a counsellor, psychosocial educator, and facilitator in Partner Assault Response (PAR) program, working with men who are charged with domestic violence and abusive towards intimate partners, to better understand domestic violence and abuse, and learn non-violent strategies and skills to engage in healthy relationships.
Mohamed’s MA/MES research focused on sustainable development in the contexts of climate change, environmental politics, and socio-economic development. His current PhD research focuses on globalization, higher education, and sustainable development in the global south – exploring the complex decision-making process by international students (and academic diaspora in Canada) to stay in host country or return to country of origin after studies, and the impact of such decisions on national development in their native homelands.
Mohamed’s teaching experience includes a variety of courses and topics in Sociology, Human Rights and Equity, Diversity in Canadian Society, Politics and Society, Global Issues, and Environmental Sustainability. He works with students identified as at-risk, disengaged and/or learners with various challenges in alternative (nontraditional) way, supporting their successful transition to postsecondary education.
Here are some ways to find out more about women's issues in Canada:
Register for the Government of Canada’s Canadian Women in History course that celebrates the outstanding achievements of women throughout Canada’s history. While this free course targets students, everyone can create an account and learn! (The course will be available until the end of June 2023 at a minimum.)
To learn more about inspiring Canadian women and gender equality in Canada:
Consult the Gender equality timeline for an overview of gender equality milestones in Canada.
Watch Heritage Minutes videos on inspiring Canadian women.