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Ignite and Empower #IWD2022

Ignite and Empower #IWD2022
by Lisa Hannay @lhannay1
By all accounts another successful International Women's Day event, this time with several WomenEd networks coming together! 

On Tuesday, March 8 @WomenEdCanada, @WomenEdAlberta, @WomenEdManitoba, @WomenEdBC and @WomenEdQuebec joined forces and amplified, celebrated and honored the work of women in leadership. 

After an overview of the WomenEd mission, values and campaigns, as well as a flashback to the origins of WomenEd (group of women meeting over gin shots or tea – no one really knows), we launched into a 5 minute rapid fire presentation on transformative leadership by Melissa Villella. Melissa challenged our perceptions by referencing the Susan Boyle 2009 audition on Britain's Got Talent. Melissa gave her presentation in both French and English, crucial if we want more seats at the table.

One way to build diversity is to have presentations and events in languages other than English.

I got kicked out of high school French regularly – it was like math in my brain – but I have a deep appreciation for those that speak multiple languages.
After Melissa, Trista Hollweck spoke to the stories we live and the stories we tell. As women we might have grown up living a story totally different than the ones we were telling ourselves and might have had to break free from the narratives of others. The bias we were exposed to through other's versions of us had the potential to restrain and constrain us. WomenEd supports women in finding their own narratives and building the courage to tell these stories in our own voices and live our stories in our own ways.

I remember saying after Trista's presentation, "All the feels!"

I have been writing and rewriting my story for years as I break free from storylines others have written for me.

Charlie was up next. There were a few technical glitches which resulted in gales of uproarious laughter. You would think after 2 years of Zoom we would all be experts. Alas, this was not the case. But no matter and no rattle – on we pushed and Charlie presented in English and swear. Charlie had sought some ideas from our team and settled on presenting the bias that comes along with being a "uterus owner". We quickly learned that this could be an entire presentation on its own. 

From periods to the menopause, to maternity leaves, to breast feeding, women have juggled their biology, whilst building careers, and facing bias and hurdles along this journey.

Iram closed the loop by exploring implicit bias and ways to acknowledge this bias in our own thinking and how to break this bias. Growing a more diverse learning network and looking for folks who do not always look like or think like us and inviting these folks into our lives are a couple of ways to challenge our own personal bias'. Iram had some tech difficulties as well but persevered. We noticed that she has been invited to write a blog on her presentation and we really hope that she accepts the challenge.

I know that I have been acknowledging my own bias and working through these, and that it is an uncomfortable and disruptive process.

I was so grateful to share the screen with Melissa, Trista, Charlie, Iram and Rita as well as our 21 (or so) guests. 

We had some repeat disruptors who have attended past events and some new faces as well. 

There is always such a feeling of togetherness and empowerment at these events and I feel energized.

Thanks to those who attended and we look forward to being together IRL soon!

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My first #WomenEd event #IWD2022
Be an agent of change to #BreakTheBias - #IWD2022
 

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Sunday, 29 May 2022

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