Statement from the Women's Executive Network in Celebration of International
Women's Day

TORONTO, March 5 /CNW/ - Women's Executive Network (WXN)(TM), Canada's leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of women, is celebrating International Women's Day (IWD).

Since the early 1900s, International Women's Day has been celebrated around the world. The global theme is "Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all." WXN continues to shine the light on the need to grow the senior ranks of female leadership of many Canadians organizations. Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100(TM) winners have been inspired by IWD and have provided the following quotations to mark this important occasion:

"IWD reminds us that we need to celebrate the achievements of women in Canada. Women continue to have lower numbers in business and politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against women continues to be a struggle. Women are a powerful part of the workforce and the economy. It is important to ensure they are being supported and appreciated. We continue to make progress towards equality but our top offices of leadership across Canada do not yet have an equal balance of women to men. We must continue to mentor, advance and inspire women."

- Pamela Jeffery, Founder, Women's Executive Network

"IWD provides the recognition of women around the world for their challenges, accomplishments and strength. We have to continue to work shoulder to shoulder in a cohesive way with others in the positions we hold. Our overall goal should be to achieve equality by working smart and contributing equally to the organization. Women have the ability to do anything and everything they want to do in their careers. The theme this year reiterates that goal as we continue to progress into the future. "

- Jennifer McNeill, CEO, Ciphersoft Inc. (Top 100 Winner in 2009)

"International Women's Day provides us all with an opportunity to pause and reflect on the progress that women around the world have made towards full participation in our businesses and our communities. Throughout my career I've had the pleasure of meeting inspiring women who have achieved remarkable things. Success is subjective, and what we work for collectively is the opportunity to define our own success and the ability to achieve it."

- Wendy Hannam, Executive Vice President, International Banking, Scotiabank (Top 100 Winner in 2007, 2008, 2009)

"While we haven't completely broken through the glass ceiling, there are now some significant cracks in it! We've had some success in some sectors, government, academia, the professions, and especially my own field, hospital administration and health care. However, some recent studies show Canada is slipping behind other countries in terms of the numbers of women who are making the executive ranks. We have to be vigilant in asserting our rights to opportunities at every level of the organizations in which we work, and we can't let the global economic downturn be used as an excuse for not promoting women to the positions they have earned."

- Janet Davidson, President and CEO, Trillium Heath Centre (Top 100 winner in 2009)

"IWD provides an opportunity to reflect on where we've been, to celebrate our victories and, perhaps most importantly, to reflect on how to continue to grow and design the path forward. The areas of focus should be in the mentoring of high potentials for leadership positions and working within our organizations to ensure a clear, transparent hiring process. The glass ceiling hasn't yet shattered, but it's beginning to crack. The composition of boards in Canada show that improvements have been made in elevating the number of women on corporate boards of directors, but those numbers do not have significant growth built in them and continued growth is the goal."

- Betty DeVita, Chairman and CEO, Citibank Canada (Top 100 Winner in 2009)

"I have mixed feelings when I consider women's issues. There are clear places of progress and equally dismal sites of stagnation. The trick is not to become so preoccupied with one, that we lose sight of the other. Each one of us has a responsibility to mentor and support women to reach their maximum potential."

- Dr. Judith Shamian, President and CEO, VON Canada (Top 100 Winner in 2009)

"IWD is an important landmark for Canadians, as well as people around the globe, to celebrate the progress that women have made in the workplace, as well as the many courageous and dedicated leaders - both women and men - who have made this advancement possible. We are fortunate to live in a country where women are treated as equal both under the law and in the social context. March 8th also provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on the status of women globally, as well as the women within our own borders who live below the poverty line, are homeless, living in violence and struggling for the basic securities in life that we so often take for granted."

- Beth Wilson, Toronto Area Managing Partner, KMPG (Top 100 Winner in 2008)

"IWD is a global celebration applauding the achievements of women in our community, country, and our world. IWD is rooted in our history, and will continue to play a role in empowering women to break barriers, reach further, and to believe. We need to recognize the triumphs of those before us and appreciate those women who are changing our world today. We need to bolster the strength of the next generation of female leaders. As we honour and celebrate today, IWD encourages us to look forward to tomorrow's feats and opportunities."

- Rumeet Toor, Founder, The Toor Centre for Education; Social Entrepreneur; Masters in Education Candidate, Higher Education and Leadership; and President, Jobs in Education (Top 100 Winner in 2008)

"IWD represents women striving to achieve a common goal. It demonstrates the power that exists in numbers. IWD's tremendous growth illustrates the support for the movement and that, even though it may take a while, society can change. I think it is an important theme. Equality is not just a female issue, it is a societal issue. Everyone struggles and everyone needs support. Recognizing that an issue exists, understanding the need for a change and determining an action plan are keys to implementing change."

- Andrea Belvedere, Director, Action Learning Program; Chair, SIFE Ryerson Business Advisory Board; Director, SIFE Ryerson Alumni Network; and Co-Founder, SAGE Canada (Top 100 Winner in 2009)

"Individuals should have the opportunity to achieve their goals. At Enbridge, we strive to help all employees succeed. Although our Women@Enbridge program is focused on the development of women, the participation of executives - both men and women - demonstrates that the development and success of all employees, including women, is something that is important to all of us."

- Janet Holder, President, Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. (Top 100 Winner in 2009)

"We need more visible leadership on equality in the workplace. By that I mean that every one of us has a responsibility to promote equality for women. There isn't one solution or program that works for everyone and we have to experiment with a number of things to see what works best. For example, some of us have increased the number of women in the workplace but we need to ask ourselves whether we're just focused on the numbers or whether there are real opportunities for women in the Canadian workplace."

- Laura Formusa, President and CEO, Hydro One Inc. (Top 100 Winner in 2008 and 2009)

About the Women's Executive Network (WXN)(TM)

The Women's Executive Network (WXN) is Canada's most influential female audience and the country's leading organization dedicated to the advancement and recognition of executive-minded women in the workplace. Since 1997, WXN has expanded rapidly to meet the needs of the growing number of female managers and executives across Canada including the creation of mentoring and professional development programs. In the fall of 2008, WXN launched in Ireland, a first step in creating an international community of women leaders. WXN is also a founding member of The Canadian Board Diversity Council, dedicated to increasing the diversity on corporate and federal public sector boards.

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SOURCE Women's Executive Network

For further information: For further information: Sarah Thompson, Women's Executive Network,, (416) 361-1475 ext. 235

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