Today, March 8 2017, is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to honour all women for their accomplishments and to pay tribute to inspiring women everywhere who have made a difference in the lives of others and who have led – and continue to lead – the way forward towards a more equal and just society.

It’s also an occasion to recognize that women all over the world have brought positive change to many facets of life, but that they continue to face challenges in the fight for gender equality.

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage in Canada, when the right of women to vote in political elections was granted to a limited female franchise. Ever since 1917, Canadian women across our country have been continuously fighting for the rights all women and for gender equality.

To commemorate this anniversary, Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is Equality Matters. Gender equality means that everyone can benefit from the same opportunities and be treated equally, regardless of their gender.

Our society and communities are much stronger when we have female leaders in the workplace, shared participation in home life and women involved in the democratic process through political leadership roles. We invite you to reflect on why gender equality matters to you, and share those thoughts with family, friends and colleagues.

I wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day!