Thursday, March 4, 2021
A Celebration of International Feminist Energies
Time: 6pm to 7:30pm EST
Women in our world have come a long way since 1911 when International Women’s Day was first proclaimed. March, International Women's Month, is an opportunity to acknowledge, honour, and celebrate remarkable women working tirelessly to advance the status of women and human rights on this planet. An equitable world is an enabled world. Often silent are the international achievements of women in our collective endeavour. The MCW and Zonta Club of Montreal, as partners in this joint event, want to honour three unique women that have made a difference in the developing world. It is a time when we can celebrate and acknowledge what they have achieved beyond divisions. They accomplish the task of rebuilding communities together with other women affected by poverty, conflict, a lack of clean water, a lack of health care, and a lack of education. These feminists have made a difference to benefit the lives and wellbeing of children, mothers, grandmothers, parents.
About Our Speakers:
Wanda Bedard is the founder and owner, since 1991, of a business based in Montreal in the sheet metal manufacturing sector. In the early 2000’s, after reading the first reports of the situation of Afghan women living under Taliban rule, Wanda spent over a year researching and investigating the issue, coming to the conclusion that ensuring that every girl has access to a quality basic education is the key to women’s empowerment in the world. After several years as a deeply engaged volunteer with UNICEF Canada, Wanda gathered eight other women to establish the 60 million girls Foundation in 2006 to focus on supporting girls’ education. The Foundation is a completely volunteer-run organization and has since invested $3.4 million supporting 29 projects in 20 countries directly benefitting over 60,000 children.
Dr. Peggy Edwards is a consultant, researcher and writer on aging well, and an activist for the rights of older people. She is a former policy analyst and writer with Health Canada and the World Health Organization. Peggy is a co-founder of the Grandmothers Advocacy Network, which advocates at local, national and international levels for the human rights of grandmothers, older women, and vulnerable children and youth of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016, she was awarded the Governor General’s Sovereign Medal for Volunteers in recognition of her work with the Council on Aging of Ottawa, the Grandmothers Advocacy Network, and The Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers Campaign. Worth seeing her video about advocacy by Canadian women in solidarity with women in Africa entitled: “Voices of Advocacy”.
Armene Modi, an educator and social activist, from India, is founder of Ashta No Kai (For A Better Tomorrow), a non-profit to educate and empower rural women and girls in 10 villages near Pune, India. Her efforts have resulted in rural women finding their voice to become active change makers in their villages, improving the educational outcomes of hundreds of adolescent girls, while preventing their early marriages. The project, now in its 23rd year, has reached significant milestones. In the 250 Self-Help groups established, rural women have begun to assert themselves as seen by their active campaigning against social maladies prevalent in their villages like alcoholism, dowry, early marriages, and even infrastructural problems like water shortages and bad roads. Ashta No Kai’s Bicycle Bank has enabled hundreds of village girls to stay in school and scholarships have enabled them to pursue higher education to become doctors, dentists, engineers, pharmacists, microbiologists etc.