From the Clerk of the Executive Council–March 8 marks International Women’s Day in Manitoba and around the world. This is a time to celebrate the contributions of women and girls in all societies and sectors that are deserving of recognition each and every day. It provides the opportunity to reflect upon the progress we have made here in Manitoba and elsewhere to advance gender equality with pride, without diluting the work still to be done.
Manitoba has led the fight for gender equality in many periods throughout history, including to cultivate the movement of women getting the right to vote and be elected to the provincial legislature. In 1987, Manitoba’s civil service introduced Canada’s first pay equity, increasing the wages of more than 4,900 women public servants to match their male colleagues. We must acknowledge the dedication of the women who came before us for enabling the opportunities we are afforded today.
It is my honour to serve as the Clerk of the Executive Council and Cabinet Secretary at a historic moment for gender equality in Manitoba. For the first time in our history, the Lieutenant Governor, Premier, Clerk of the Executive Council, the Speaker and the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly are all women.
Today, women represent 55.5 per cent of public servants and 53 per cent of senior managers, well exceeding 28.5 per cent in 2005 (Public Service Commission, 2022). I take this momentum as a very encouraging sign for the future of women and girls in our province, and that we will continue to shatter glass ceilings and celebrate many more achievements in the years to come.
As a mother, I have instilled in my daughters that they can accomplish anything they set their minds and hearts to without feeling reduced by gender discrimination and false narratives about their potential. Let’s all ask ourselves what we can do better to actively embrace gender equality in all aspects of your life.
To women – stand courageously and speak fearlessly in your purpose, and lift others around you. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organization once said, “Your steps forward make more space for the women who come next,” and I couldn’t agree more. We are stronger together.
Clerk of the Executive Council