International Women’s Day celebrated across the Northwest

International Women’s Day is being celebrated in different communities across the Northwest.

The Dryden Native Friendship Centre is hosting an event to celebrate the day on Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 3p.m.

Karen Smith, the intergenerational trauma coordinator and organizer of the event, said the friendship centre is really excited to have the event open to the public after two years of holding the it in-house.

“We really wanted to bring it to the community,” she said.

Smith said the theme — Embrace Equity — comes from the International Women's Day organizers to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren’t enough.

“People start from different places,” she said. “So true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.”

She said they we wanted to get some different perspectives and have invited speakers covering a range of topics and experiences including a small business owner, a retired police officer, a person who takes care of farm animals, a city councillor, and a drum keeper.

Smith said a free-catered lunch will be available first come first served as well as some great draw prizes.

She said International Women’s Day is important to her because of the message it sends her kids.

“I just want to show my kids that you can you break those biases of being a mother and a woman and do things that you really enjoy,” she said.

“I got to complete my [university] degree while working full-time and looking after them. So I'm always about empowering women, breaking those biases and changing the equity and the opportunities in our community.”

In Sioux Lookout, the Sioux Lookout Area Aboriginal Management Board is commemorating the occasion by offering a free meal.

A spokesperson said anyone can drop in the office located on 80 Front Street to pick up a lunch to go from noon to 1:30 p.m. or until they run out.

The agency said the event is hosted by line cook trainees who will wear ribbon skirts to commemorate the day and that it’s part of their curriculum to provide a meal to a large crowd.

In Kenora, Saakaate House women's shelter is celebrating the event with a sold-out dinner featuring photography, speakers and trivia.

Earlier in the day, at 9 a.m. in the morning, local women entrepreneurs are getting together for a business coffee meet up at Iron & Clay coffee shop, at 210 Second Street South, as a tie-in event for the day.

Organizer Vic Moss, the founder and operator of Mosswood Adventures and Rentals, said the day was a good reason to bring other women in business, who she calls her business sisters, together to chat about business and life in the region.

“I'm kind of wrapping up my first little season,” she said. “I just wanted to continue the conversation around business [with] other women in business because I haven't really had that opportunity. So I thought, why not partner with a local coffee shop and, and gather women there.”

She said equity for women is important in the realm of entrepreneurship and that women are embraced in whatever their goals and dreams are in business as well.

Moss said she works in an industry, tourism, that does not necessarily have many women run businesses, so she embracing the equity within her sector.

“But I know there's lots of other women in this community that do the same [in their sectors],” she said. “so yeah, I think gathering to discuss those things are key and working with each other to ensure that we have the same equal opportunity within our region.”

Moss said the event is free, but they are collecting cash donations for Women’s Place Kenora.

“More opportunities like this are needed. Just because it's International Women's Day doesn't mean that the conversation ends there,” she said. “I think this is an everyday of the year conversation that women can gather and talk about.”

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source