Mar 08

Local Organizations and Events Help Empower Girls, Women

by Shannon Calhoun · 0 comments

Today is International Women’s Day and thousands of events will take place around the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements. This year’s theme is: “Connecting girls, inspiring futures.”

I thought this would be a good opportunity to draw attention to some amazing organizations and events in Calgary that are both educational and empowering for women.

Incidentally, I came across an organization called The Famous 5 Foundation a few months after I had moved to Calgary when I did a Google search on the Famous Five because I was interested in the history behind the statues at Olympic Plaza.

It was surprising to learn that up until 1929, women in Canada were not considered “persons” – at least not in the fullest legal sense of the word.

The Famous 5 Foundation is named after the 5 courageous Alberta women who petitioned and won the right for women across Canada to be considered “persons” and, in turn, Senators, if they so choose.  It’s incredible to think that was only 83 years ago.

The foundation runs a Speaker Series in partnership with Enbridge at the Palliser, that profiles extraordinary women and in 2011 they launched the first initiative of their Future 5 Girl Engagement Program – “The Power of You” workshops. This program provides girls aged 7 to 12 with strategies for developing a strong sense of self, enabling them to be true to themselves and to uncover their leadership potential.  Their focus in 2012 will be to expand this great program.

This is something that I feel is so important and it is nice to see an organization supporting young girls and encouraging them to reach their full potential.

In a world of CosmoGirl, Jersey Shore and the Kardashians, who are the female role models for this generation? When you picture your daughter’s future occupation, odds are high that becoming a model, socialite or reality TV star are not high on your list of hopes for them. To each their own, but honestly, when you look at mainstream television and media there’s not a lot available with any substance for young girls to look up to.

There are many implied pressures on girls to look a certain way, and more value seems to be placed on being thin and beautiful than being a kind and interesting person. It is disturbing. It makes me angry and sad when there are so many other important things to engage in and celebrate. Many magazines geared towards girls and women tend to direct their energy to vapid things like how to be skinny, how to have the shiniest hair, how to please your man, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting in the den of the man-hating she-wolves saying I don’t want to please the man in my life, it’s obviously important to maintain a happy and healthy relationship and family, but so much focus is put on how to be the most unachievably perfect person on earth that it’s no wonder a significant portion of our society turns to anti-depressants to cope with life.

It’s a pleasure to see organizations such as the Famous 5 Foundation looking out for young girls and guiding them in a positive direction.

Upcoming Events

March 8 – Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards 2012 Summit & Awards Gala – Moira Forbes, President and Publisher of ForbesWoman magazine, will be the keynote speaker

Also on International Women’s Day, the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) is waiving its membership fee to encourage smart women to be part of a community of female leaders. For one day only, WXN is waiving its $95 membership fee encouraging smart, successful women to join its community of 17,000 professional women. WXN creates and delivers innovative speaker series events, networking, mentoring, and professional development to inform, inspire, connect, and recognize our community of remarkable women across Canada and Ireland.

March 15 – Young Women of Influence Present Branding Basics featuring Kara Claypool, SVP, Jugo Juice

April 3 – Enbridge Famous 5 Speakers Series (Profiles extraordinarily successful women) – Guest Speaker – Cheryl Foggo, Journalist, Screenwriter, Poet, Playwright, Writer of fiction and non-fiction and young adult Novelist.

Resources:

Famous 5 Foundation, Young Women of Influence, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, Big Brothers Big Sisters Calgary, YWCA, The Women’s Centre, Canadian Youth Business Foundation, Women’s Executive Network

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