READ INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2017 MESSAGE HERE.
READ EQUAL PAY DAY & 65TH ANNIVERSARY MESSAGE FOR BPW SELKIRK HERE.
It is my deep honour to serve as President of The Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women for the upcoming term, 2016 to 2018. It has also been a moment of immense pride to host the 45th Biennial Convention in Calgary. As I mentioned at our Centennial Gala and Awards night, when we marked the Centennial Year of Women’s Suffrage by paying tribute to 100 organizations across Canada, that “the last time Calgary hosted a national convention was in 1935, the 5th Biennial Convention”. It was, therefore, quite meaningful to welcome delegates across Canada to our city after 81 years and during a significant Canadian milestone, the 100th anniversary of when women were granted the right to vote in our country.
It is noteworthy that the last time a member of the Calgary club held the position of national president was in 1962. It was Una Maclean Evans in 1960 to 1962 and it was during her presidency that we held our national convention in St, Andrews, New Brunswick. I find it very interesting that President Maclean Evans was a Citizenship Court Judge and as many of you know I have been practicing in the area of Immigration for the last 22 years and so, for me, it is quite symbolic to lead BPW Canada comprising of very active citizens and residents across Canada rooted in a broad range of businesses and professions. I am grateful to our Greater Moncton Club for their generosity in offering to host our 2017 AGM in New Brunswick. It is my hope that after the AGM we also visit Charlottetown, the Birthplace of Confederation, to reflect collectively.
My term of office has begun on a high note with an intimate conversation with the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Her Honour the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell during our celebration of the Centennial Year of Women’s Suffrage as we shared a meal during the Centennial Gala. I look forward to another very prominent moment in history, Canada’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary of Confederation. So as our country plans a year long celebration to commemmorate its 150th anniversary of Confederation across the country, as a Federation, we will also set very high goals to double our membership in Canada and reach out to women from diverse backgrounds. It is time for each one of us to do our part to support diversity and inclusion.... and we will start by focusing on Canada’s largest and most diverse cities to develop all women’s potential while improving conditions for all women.
We must also remember that we are part of an International Federation with over 35,000 members globally across 95 countries with Consultative One Status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Every year when I attend the BPW International Leaders’ Summit and the Sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN headquarters in New York, I am reminded of the realities of women’s lives worldwide and how governments, UN entities, businesses, civil societies and people like you and I can come together to promote the advancement of women locally, nationally and globally.
As members of BPW Canada, I invite you to experience these two events with me – BPWI Leaders’ Summit on March 11-13 and CSW61 on March 14-24. It was Nellie McClung, one of the Famous Five and Founding Member of BPW Calgary who once said “I am a believer in women, in their ability to do things and in their influence and power. Women set the standards for the world, and it is for us, women in Canada, to set the standards high”. I firmly believe that in Canada, women are strong, we are ambitious and we have the conviction! It is by working together that we can achieve earlier and greater progress for all.
Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla, BA, JD, RCIC
President, BPW Canada