Find inclusion and inspiration at Women’s Day lunch event

By Megan Walchuk

A number of organizations are coming together to Inspire Inclusion, with the second annual International Women’s Day lunch event.

This Friday, March 8, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the public is invited to stop by the Fort Frances branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, for learning, listening and a free bagged lunch.

The event is being hosted by a joint venture between the Rainy River District Victim Services, The Rainy River District Women’s Shelter of Hope and the United Native Friendship Centre.

They partnered last year for a similar event, and hope make it even bigger this time, as they work to raise awareness for the need for parity, equality and inclusion.

According to Peggy Loyie, program Manager at Victim Services, International Women’s Day strives to create “a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. We want to live in a world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive,” she said.

And that isn’t just about new advances – it’s also protecting the accomplishments already made.

“When we look at some of the things happening in the United States, it almost feel like we’re sliding back,” she said. “It’s about continuing to move forward, not backwards.”

According to Sharon Calder, Transitional Housing and Outreach Program Worker for the Shelter of HopeThe event is free to all who attend, and includes a free bagged lunch. Although the day is aimed at women, anyone is more than welcome to attend.

They have assembled a variety of booths, which including topics such as education, entrepreneurship, health, self-care and empowerment. They include the UNFC, Treaty 3, Rainy River Future Development Corporation, the Good Food Box, the Senior Centre, Seven Generations Education Institute, Metis Nation of Ontario, Metis Child ands FamilyServices, the NCDS, and others.

Local woman entrepreneurs will also be attending, to display their accomplishments, including a massage therapist and an esthetician.

For Loyie, parity and inclusion acknowledges that although we’re all different, with different skills and abilities, that everyone has a role – and everyone’s role is equal, and important to the health of society, she said.

“We’re celebrating the gifts we have, and having those gifts be celebrated and validated as women.”