October is Women’s History Month across Canada, and this year the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women and PEI Interministerial Women’s Secretariat celebrated the month with a gathering to remember inspiring women of the past. More than fifty people took part in the celebration on October 20 at St. Peter’s Cathedral Hall in Charlottetown.
Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Paula Biggar recognized the ways local Prince Edward Island women have contributed to the greater equality women in Canada enjoy today.
Said Minister Biggar, “People’s contributions have made a difference, and some of this work was completed by women who would never have considered themselves leaders. Some of this work was a collective experience, in which no particular person stood out, but was through the efforts of many working together in solidarity.”
A memorial circle at the celebration invited all those present to share a memory or a memento of an inspiring woman who touched their lives and is no longer with us. The ceremony brought to mind participants’ extraordinary mothers, grandmothers, aunts, neighbours, and friends, as well as more widely known leaders in the arts, in labour, in sport, or in politics.
Specially remembered and honoured was social worker, counsellor, and advocate Diane Kays, who died in March 2015 while she was serving as the Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.
“We will honour their efforts by continuing to work for progress,” said Minister Biggar.
Kelly Robinson, Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women, acknowledged the 40th anniversary of the Advisory Council and expressed hope that “In the next 40 years, we will build on the work of our forebears to meet the goals women continue to reach for to attain full equality in all aspects of life.”
Women’s History Month and is celebrated with events in many communities across Canada. This year’s theme was “Her Story, Our Story: Celebrating Canadian Women.” Women’s History Month encompasses October 11, the UN-declared International Day of the Girl, and October 18, Persons Day, which marks the date in 1929 when Canadian women were recognized as “persons” under the law.