Harper Government Launches Women's History Month

Canadian Women Pioneers: Inspiring Change Through ongoing Leadership

TORONTO, Oct. 1, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, joined students at Ryerson University to launch Women's History Month 2013, Canadian Women Pioneers: Inspiring Change Through Ongoing Leadership. Joining in the launch was Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut and the first neurologist in space and Julia Hanigsberg, Vice President, Administration and Finance, Ryerson University.

"With Canada's women pioneers as the focus of Women's History Month, I hope young women across the country will be inspired by their stories and set paths for themselves that they can follow to success," said Minister Leitch. "I want young women to capitalize on career opportunities in every field - in the sciences, business, technology and the trades, as well in the natural resources sector."

"I never really set out to be a pioneer for women in my chosen fields of study or my various career paths, but being the first woman to try something new can put you at the forefront of change without even realizing it," said Dr. Bondar. "I do hope that my experiences will inspire many young women and girls to know they have an equal chance at success no matter the life path or career they choose."

"We are pleased to participate in the launch of Women's History Month in Canada for 2013," said Mr. Sheldon Levy, President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University. "We hope this event and the month of October will inspire countless women on our own campus and across Canada to feel empowered about their limitless futures."

Throughout October 2013, the Government of Canada is highlighting Canadian women as pioneers in many fields of endeavour. The public is invited to send their reflections on women pioneers in their communities, workplaces, or schools. Some of these reflections will be posted on the Status of Women web site during the month of October. For more information, please visit www.women.gc.ca.

Women's History Month is celebrated each year throughout October and includes the commemoration of the "persons case" when on October 18, 1929, women were first legally recognized as "persons" under Canadian law. During this month, Canada will also recognize the second International Day of the Girl on October 11th. This international day promotes equal treatment and opportunities for girls around the world in areas such as law, nutrition, health care, education, training, and freedom from violence and abuse.


Women's History Month

Since 1992, the Government of Canada has designated October as Women's History Month to celebrate the contributions of women, past and present, who have helped shape our nation.

The theme for Women's History Month 2013 is Canadian Women Pioneers: Inspiring Change Through Ongoing Leadership. Throughout the month of October, the Government of Canada will highlight women's participation and leadership in various fields, including science and technology, engineering and trades, business and entrepreneurs, natural resources, medicine and medical research.

International Day of the Girl

International Day of the Girl is celebrated each year on October 11th, and in Canada, this day also forms part of the Government of Canada's celebrations for Women's History Month.

International Day of the Girl promotes equal treatment, and freedom from violence and abuse, for girls around the world. It also promotes equal opportunities for girls worldwide in areas such as law, nutrition, health care, and education.

Persons Day

Persons Day is celebrated annually on October 18th, during Women's History Month. This day marks a pivotal moment in Canadian history when, on October 18, 1929, women were first included in the legal definition of "persons" in Canada. It was a turning point in the quest for equal rights.

The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case were created in 1979 to mark the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Persons Case, which changed the course of history for women in Canada. Each year, five recipients are chosen from across Canada. Two are from the youth category (15 to 30 years of age). Recipients of these Awards continue the tradition of courage, integrity and hard work that the Famous Five of the Persons Case inspired.

Facts and Statistics for Women's History Month 2013

  • Since 1991, women have represented a majority of university graduates in Canada. Of the 242,000 university students who graduated in 2007, 61% were women.
  • There has been steady growth in labour force participation among women with young children. In 2009, 64.4% of women with children under the age of 3 were employed, more than double the proportion of 27.6% in 1976.
  • Women represent 47.5% of the Canadian workforce, yet remain under-represented in sectors such as the skilled trades and science and technology.
  • In 2012, women held just 11.8% of construction jobs, 19% of forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas jobs, and 30.5% of agricultural jobs.
  • In the information technology professions, women maintained the same 25% of jobs from 2000 to 2010, despite increasing demands for these skills.
  • In 2007, despite representing 3.0% of enrolments in the electrical, electronic and related trades, only 1.5% of all graduates from these programs were women.
  • In 2009, women made up only 2.2% of registered apprenticeship completions in the building construction, electrical, industrial and mechanical, metal fabrication, and motor vehicle and heavy equipment trades; and only 6.9% overall working in trades, transport, equipment operations and related occupations - representing the largest currently-untapped human resource to meet these occupational needs.

For more information on Women's History Month and commemorative dates, please visit women.gc.ca.

SOURCE: Status of Women Canada

For further information:

For media inquiries only:

Dan Miles
Office of the Hon. Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, P.C.,
O. Ont., M.P.
Minister of Labour and Minister of
Status of Women
Tel: 819-953-5646
Fax: 819-994-5168

For all other inquiries, contact:

Nanci-Jean Waugh
Director General, Communications
and Public Affairs
Status of Women Canada
Tel: 613-995-7839

Ce texte est également disponible en français.

For a backgrounder on Women's History Month, news releases and information on Status of Women Canada, go to women.gc.ca.


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