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International Women’s Day Celebration

CCTVmedium News The first International Women’s Day celebration Co-Chaired by the 4 female Councillors from City of Markham was held in the Council Chamber at Markham’s Civic Centre on Monday March 4th, 2024. Over 150 people from the community participated in the event, and a number of City of Markham Executive Leadership team members also participated in the celebration.

The event was organized by the Canadian Intercultural Association for Community Development (CIACD), and Co-Chaired by Ward 6 Councillor Amanda Yeung Collucci, Ward 8 Councillor Isa Lee, Ward 7 Councillor Juanita Nathan and Ward 4 Councillor Karen Rea.  Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti served as Honorary Chair of the event.  Deputy Mayor Michael Chan, Regional Councillor Jim Jones, and Regional Councillor Joe Li were also in attendance to support the celebration. The event was filled with inspiration, empowerment, high energy and passion where women were uplifting other women to achieve higher levels of success.  This event truly has a diverse representation from different ethnic groups.

“Women are akin to tea bags; we possess remarkable resilience and capabilities beyond what many may anticipate. However, it’s only when we’re steeped in hot water that our true essence emerges,” articulated Neetu Gupta, President of CIACD, and host of the event said in her opening remarks. “As we commemorate International Women’s Day today, it’s a poignant reminder that the fight for gender equality must persist, notwithstanding the significant milestones we’ve achieved collectively.”

“Diversity and inclusion stand as cornerstone values for the City of Markham. We are proud to announce that our commitment to these principles has once again been recognized, as our organization has been honored as one of Canada’s Best Employers for 2024 by Forbes and Statista Inc.,” stated Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham. “Mentoring female leaders in municipal government is paramount to achieving gender equality, and Markham is setting the standard in this regard.”

“Women must courageously seize opportunities and proactively pursue advancement in the workplace. In today’s era, equal opportunities should be extended to females as readily as to their male counterparts,” articulated Markham Councillor Amanda Yeung Collucci, the trailblazing first Chinese female elected to Markham Council. “Men have a vital role to play in championing female success. Working together, women can achieve anything!” she further emphasized.

“Being able to bring my newborn to Council meetings was a significant breakthrough for me. It symbolizes a positive shift towards inclusivity and understanding the diverse realities that individuals, especially women, face in the workforce. It showcases that parenthood and professional responsibilities are not mutually exclusive and highlights the importance of fostering an environment that supports work/life balance,” said Ward 8 Councillor Isa Lee.

“Markham is home to many talented women leaders who have broken many barriers to lead a successful and inspirational life,” said Councillor Juanita Nathan. “If you see a lack of representation, discrimination, or mistreatment around you in your homes, communities, and workplaces, it is your responsibility to question it. Your voice matters, and your voice can make an impact in our society,” Councillor Juanita Nathan emphasized.

Councillor Karen Rea suggested, “Let us re-affirm our dedication to creating a future where inclusivity is not merely an aspiration but a fundamental guiding principle shaping our decisions and actions. Together, let us ignite a spirit of inclusiveness and collaboration, paving the way for a brighter and more equitable tomorrow for all.”

Gwyneth Chapman, a dynamic black woman who is a long-time Community Builder, Organizer and Advocate, TV Producer and Host, Self-Empowerment Speaker and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient. Gwyneth, the Lead of the Black Economic, Social, Cultural, Youth & Civic Development Unit at the City of Brampton, delivered a powerful speech where she stated all organizations must take gender equality as a priority. She also encouraged women to embrace their own powers and take steps into leadership roles.

This Councillor’s led event also featured Keynote Speaker, Sanaz Hooman, Senior Vice President, Opulence Global, an Iranian born woman who is a community builder, entrepreneur and philanthropist. In her inspiring speech, Sanaz spoke about the importance of adding females to senior management levels of organizations and her community work around the globe.

The event was topped with a singing performance by Genian Higgins who is a singer, songwriter, actress and contestant of the 2023 Markham Talent Open Casting Call and a fashion show by Silver Tulip, a high fashion, one of a kind contemporary Indian wear fashion boutique owned by Shibani Sahney.

“It was an honour to join the extraordinary women of our Markham Council in celebration of International Women’s Day. Councillor’s Collucci, Lee, Nathan, and Rea are gifted leaders in our community who inspire others with their strength, resilience, and dedication to serve the public. Thank you to the Canadian Intercultural Association for Community Development for their hard work to organize this important opportunity to hear from two outstanding and impactful speakers,” affirmed Michael Chan, Deputy Mayor and Regional Councillor, City of Markham.

“International Women’s Day is a day of unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action towards progress in achieving gender equality,” detailed Regional Councillor Joe Li.

As we commemorate International Women’s Day, let us recognize the incredible impact of women in shaping our world. Their strength, resilience, and achievements inspire us all to strive for a more inclusive and equitable society. Today and every day, let us honour and empower women in their pursuit of progress and equality.

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