The last 50 years have been a whirlwind when it comes to being a woman in the Valley.
We’ve come a long way. But how much further do we have to go?
“When I think back to my grandmother, I remember my mom telling me how she went back and got her bachelor’s degree in her 80s,” author and keynote speaker Monica Parkin told Comox Valley News.
“In her day and age, when she was a young person, she wanted to go to university, but you just didn’t educate girls back then.”
This reality was just decades ago, but the steps we’ve taken in a few short years have been pretty huge.
For International Women’s Day, woman leaders in the valley are both celebrating successes and looking to the future.
“It’s a day where I stop and reflect on how far the women’s movement has gone in the last hundred years,” said Comox Mayor Nicole Minions.
“It also makes me think of where there’s room for growth and improvement. We have a lot of women in leadership in the Comox Valley right now, which is exciting.”
Comox and Cumberland are both currently being led by women – and that’s just in politics.
Comox Valley Women’s Business Network is full of women creating ripples here at home.
It’s been running for nearly 36 years and serves as a place for networking and learning about other women’s businesses.
“We have meetings that run from September to June, and it’s a great place for networking and learning,” said the Networks President Bobbie Norton.
“It’s nice to have other women that you can talk to and maybe there’s something that you’re going through or they’re struggling with, and you can ask the questions.”
To continue creating an equitable future, learning from those who’ve been working towards this goal for years is essential.
The network is the perfect place to start.
“There’s a lot of power when women connect together… whether we are in business or women helping other women, I think that is pretty powerful for International Women’s Day,” said Norton.
Despite how far things have come, it’s still often far from an easy task to get taken seriously in leadership roles as a woman.
Women of colour and other minorities end up having to jump through even more hoops – or still often face complete blocks altogether.
If you need help navigating some new terrain, the valley’s leading women are encouraging the next generations to ask for help.
“Reach out if you ever want to talk,” said Mayor Vickey Brown. “I really encourage young women to step into those leadership roles, to be brave and to look for mentorship.
An extra few years of experience can make all the difference.
“I think all of us that have got to position of leadership are very happy to share what we’ve learned along the way.”
To get in contact, you can check out the Comox Women in Business Network.