Contributed by: Justine Chubb, Senior Communications Specialist
Speak up. Step up. Act up. More than 1,400 attendees took part in the fourth annual We for She Conference on November 17, 2017, pledging to “step it up for gender equality.” The event was presented by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Government of British Columbia, and the Women’s Enterprise Centre. The 2017 We for She Forum is one of North America’s largest gatherings of women’s organizations, companies, experts, business leaders, advocates and young women. The goal is to advance equality and grow the Canadian economy by championing gender diversity in leadership as a business imperative.
I attended this conference as a business leader and it was a pleasure to be in the company of hundreds of next generation leaders, young women from high schools throughout BC. This conference gave these women a greater understanding of their career options and potential, expanded their confidence in what they can achieve, and gave them a chance to meet dynamic and successful role models.
The day was filled with music, dancing on stage and stories from key influencers who are Speaking Up, Stepping Up, and Acting Up in support of equality. There were leadership sessions for the business leaders where we discussed how to activate men and boys, how to achieve gender equity in pay and on boards, and the tackling of unconscious bias. The workshop sessions for the next generation leaders focused on leadership, and the jobs available in the technology, trades, and finance sectors.
This event also marked the release of the #Canada150Women book featuring remarkable Canadians from across the country. Each student was gifted with a complimentary copy and it was exciting to see how enthusiastic they were to get their books signed by some of the women who were in attendance, like Karina LeBlanc (UNICEF ambassador and two-time Olympian) and the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice).
We for She empowered young women to find their passion, be bold in their careers and support others to do the same. As a business leader, I was inspired by the many discussions on ways to support women in the workplace and came away with my own personal commitments to work towards.
Wondering how you can make a difference as well? Here’s a few ways that both women and men can work towards gender equality:
- Actively champion your own career
- Act as a champion, mentor and role model for women in your life and workplace
Promote and Advocate Diversity
- Be an advocate for diversity and inclusion
- Implement diversity policies in your organization
- Implement updated talent management systems to recruit and develop aa pipeline of women
- Engage men as active participants and critical partners in conversation and action, to collectively shift the dial
Create Positive Mindsets
- Encourage family, friends, colleagues and organizations to address stereotypes and practices that hold many women back
- Recognize and call out unconscious bias that may limit opportunities for women
- Promote different examples of leadership to help women visualize success
To learn more and check out the highlights, visit: https://weforshe.ca/