Kelowna students send a message of support to New York for International Day of the Girl Celebrations

KELOWNA, BC, Oct. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, along with the Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, and Alaina Podmorow, founder of Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, today gathered with students at Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School to send a message of support for International Day of the Girl celebrations on Friday, October 11, 2013.   

"Throughout our history, generations of Canadian girls have been leaders and role models whose accomplishments have positively impacted Canadians and people around the world," said Minister Leitch.  "I hope girls here in Kelowna, and throughout the country, will be inspired by the International Day of the Girl, and feel empowered to succeed in all aspects of Canada's social, economic and democratic life."  

Minister Leitch asked the students at Aberdeen Hall to help her bring greetings to girls and young women around the world by signing a statement of support that she will take to International Day of the Girl celebrations at the United Nations in New York later this week.  

"Girls and young women play a crucial role in the social and economic health of our nation," said Mr. Cannan. "As a father of three daughters, I know first-hand that providing girls and young women with opportunities to flourish will help build strong communities and a strong Canada."  

Alaina Podmorow was the Government of Canada's Honourary Youth Ambassador at the United Nations (UN) last year. She shared the inspirational story of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head in 2012 on her way home from school in Pakistan.  

"Malala is a testament of strength and courage for girls worldwide," said Ms. Podmorow. "It is my hope that by sharing her story, Canadians will be inspired to take action to improve the life of girls and young women worldwide."  

On March 24, 2011, the House of Commons gave its unanimous support for Canada to lead a campaign at the United Nations for designating an International Day of the Girl. Canada led the international community for this initiative, which was formally adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 2011. The first International Day of the Girl was commemorated across the world in 2012.

Canadians are encouraged to participate in International Day of the Girl celebrations during Women's History Month in Canada, and send an e-postcard to celebrate girls and young women in their communities. For more information, visit


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


Image with caption: "The Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, along with the Honourable Ron Cannan, Alaina Podmorow, Grant Ozechowsky and students from Aberdeen Hall Preparatory School celebrate the International Day of the Girl. (CNW Group/Status of Women Canada)". Image available at:

SOURCE: Status of Women Canada

For further information:

For media inquiries only:           

Barbara Mottram
Director of Communications
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
613 995-7839

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