As strong advocates for women and girls, the Canadian Federation of University Women Parksville Qualicum (CFUWPQ) always celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD), held annually on March 8.
This year, CFUWPQ welcomes members and non-members alike to come hear Dr. Brenda Trenholme who will present a slideshow and talk about her 12,000-kilometre cycling adventure through Africa from Cairo to Cape Town, according to a news release by CFUWPQ.
The event will be held at Knox United Church (345 Pym St.) in Parksville on March 8 at 7 p.m. While the event is free, donations are appreciated at the door.
Dr. Trenholme’s four-month bicycle ride along the length of Africa was completed in 2016 raised funds for the Kenya Education Endowment Fund (KEEF), a charity based in Vancouver. KEEF offers scholarships and bursaries for secondary and post-secondary education in Kenya, where high school is not free. On March 8, Trenholme will share the story of her adventure, highlighting the cultural aspects unique to some of the African women that she encountered along the way.
International Women’s Day, which originated in women’s struggle for safer working conditions, better pay and voting rights, went global in 1910 when the Socialist International voted to create a Women’s Day to advocate for suffrage. In 1911 more than a million people took to the streets of Europe to call for women’s rights. For most of the 20th Century, the day was acknowledged and celebrated by people at the grassroots level as a rallying point for social justice. It wasn’t until 1975 that the United Nations adopted International Women’s Day on March 8.
Today, IWD is still relevant as a time to recognize how far women have come towards gender equality and how far women still need to go.
“We have rights our grandmothers could only dream about,” said Mary Ellen Campbell, president of CFUWPQ. “But we still don’t have complete equality. And the majority of the world’s women aren’t anywhere near as close to that goal as we are. More than 100 years ago, that first march was about ending harmful workplace conditions, equal rights, equal pay, and an end to exploitation. And sadly, those aims are still relevant today. Because the rights we have are not secure.”
CFUWPQ is one of 100 clubs under the national federation founded in 1919. We are committed to promoting equality, education and opportunities for women and girls locally, nationally and internationally. Inviting guest speakers to our monthly meetings is one way we promote ongoing education.
As well, CFUWPQ’s Scholarship & Bursary Trust provides financial assistance to post-secondary and post-graduate students from the Parksville Qualicum beach area.
In 2022, we gave out 12 awards totalling $32,500 and this spring we will be accepting applications for the 2023 scholarships and bursaries. Funding for scholarship and bursary awards comes from donations and money raised at our annual book sale.
This year’s book sale will be held Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, 2023 at the Coombs Fairground. For more information visit www.cfuwpq.ca.
— NEWS Staff, submitted