Reflecting on International Women’s Day 2021

Today I virtually attended the 22nd annual Influential Women in Business Awards. The event honoured six incredible B.C. women who have led remarkable lives and careers.

The broadcast was hosted by Business in Vancouver and co-emceed by my friend Hayley Woodin, and the speeches throughout truly inspired.

One of the themes that emerged was how far we’ve come, and how far we have yet to go. The world is a very different place for women today, especially in the working world, but there remain issues of inequality that need to be addressed.

Every month, every week, every day, I am inspired by the amazing women I am blessed to know, and the wonderful women we all get to read and hear about who are making news and breaking through barriers.

International Women’s Day provides an occasion to pause and reflect on advances made, and the people who have helped make them. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge, thank and listen to the women in our lives.

This last year has been difficult for everyone. We also know it has disproportionately impacted women, many of whom have had to take a step back from work to support their families during the pandemic. Others are doing what they can to excel at their jobs while balancing additional demands related to school and family.

If you haven’t done so today, make a point of checking in with your team and staff members. Thank them for all that they are doing, and if you’re able to go the extra mile, ask if they are receiving the support they need during this time from you, their employer.

It was pointed out during the event today that COVID-19 might be a setback for women in the workplace. If it persists, it may erase some of the gains that have been made toward equality.

What does this mean for small business owners? I think three of the most important things we can do is offer support, offer empowerment, and offer opportunities for advancement.

One of the best ways to start is with a conversation, and from a place of gratitude.

Thank you to all of the women who continue to inspire me, who lift up their families, and who are running local businesses during a particularly challenging time.

Happy International Women’s Day!