Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Panel discusses inspiration, gender barriers ahead of International Women's Day

  • Print
Karen Busby, a professor with the U of M Faculty of Law, speaks as part of the six woman panel discussing what inspires them to success and what issues continue to serve as gender barriers in 2014.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Karen Busby, a professor with the U of M Faculty of Law, speaks as part of the six woman panel discussing what inspires them to success and what issues continue to serve as gender barriers in 2014. Photo Store

The equality door for women isn’t as heavy as it used to be, but it still requires a pretty big push.

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, an annual event marking the challenges and issues, as well as the many successes, women have made in terms of closing the gender gap around the globe.

This morning in Winnipeg, a celebration of women took place at the Delta Hotel. Organized by the Hummingbird Education Fund, an initiative designed to get low-income, underprivileged women into post-secondary education programs, the event featured a panel discussion of women from various fields discussing what inspires them to success and what issues continue to serve as gender barriers in 2014.

"Salary equality remains at the top of the list," said Dr. Jeannette Montufar, a civil engineering professor at the University of Manitoba and the founder of the Hummingbird project. "To this day, a single father makes up to four times as much as a single mother, which is why we’re encouraging women to further their education and find a way to narrow that gap."

The equality message has been out there for decades, Montufar notes, but it doesn’t make it less important today. Stereotypes specific to employment roles -- men in trades earning a higher wage versus women in the lower-paying service industry -- need to broken before the income gap is narrowed significantly.

"When a woman has a post secondary education and is also head of a household, children get inspired by that and will pursue bigger dreams," Montufar said. "It’s a cycle that reflects positively on society, as well."

Mariette Mulaire is president and CEO of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg, one of 330 WTC outposts across the globe. She says she might be one of 5-6 women at the top of the localized organizational structure, making for a real disparity in terms of voice and leadership attitudes.

Internationally, she notices the gender inequality. At home, though, things appear a little more balanced.

"I really believe Manitoba is ahead of the game is some ways," she said. "Is there room for improvement? Yes, of course. But I really like the direction we’re headed in this province."

Mulaire points to women heading big projects and institutions in Manitoba, like Diane Gray of CentrePort and Red River College president Stephanie Forsyth, as examples of where women making significant strides in this province.

"It’s in a variety of fields, too -- not just health and education," Mulaire adds. "Where we need to improve is in the boardroom. There needs to be more of a female presence in big business and industry. I’d love to see some gains made there. But it is happening. I feel that if a woman wants to go through any door, she would be able to do it today. It might take a little push but it’s not as heavy as it once was."

Dr. Wanda Wuttunee, professor of native studies at the University of Manitoba, has witnessed the many issues facing women in her classroom. It’s a constant challenge to earn respect both at home and in the workplace for aboriginal women, she notes, and that it takes a strong person to get past the gender and racial negativity.

"Every year in my program we have a celebration in excellence in business," Wuttunee said. "Last year, a women, one of the award winners, talked about how when she started up her printing business people would go out of their way, driving over to her place, to tell her that she had no business doing what she was doing. That it was wrong. That she didn’t belong there."

"She used that as motivation. She’s in her 11th year now. Stories like that are important. They’re inspiring to others."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Cheapskate: Your cheapskate questions

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Jets' three pre-season losses in a row are a sign of things to come?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google