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CHRIS LEWIS, MP ESSEX INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – “Choose to Challenge”
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the women who play significant roles in our lives and in our communities and to take a public stand for gender equality and freedom at home and across the globe.
This year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge”.
I have the honour of working alongside many gifted women on both sides of the House and in my Ottawa and constituency offices. I would like to especially acknowledge my Chief of Staff, Marnie Pouget. I was raised by a strong woman, am married to a strong, independent woman and am blessed with an amazing daughter who keeps this proud dad on his toes. I am who I am because each one of them challenge me to be my best.
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars, to change the world.” (Harriet Tubman)
Thanks to the courage and determination of women like the early suffragettes, women have made huge strides in the pursuit of gender equality. It is hard to imagine that there was a day not so long ago that women did not have the right to vote and other basic rights that thankfully, due to their resolve, women can now take for granted in Canada.
In honour of those courageous and fierce women, and all women everywhere, including those nearest and dearest to our hearts, let us resolve to tackle the issues and barriers that remain. Let us “choose to challenge” one another to do more and to do better.
I think especially of the scourge of human trafficking that disproportionately victimizes women and girls and the terrible physical, emotion and sexual abuses suffered by the Uyghurs women in the Concentration Camps in China. Parliament has taken the first step in declaring the violence against the Uyghurs a genocide. But more needs to be done.
Like those early women rights champions and those who followed in their footsteps, “let’s choose to challenge”. May we raise our voices today and every day in support of full gender equality and an end to the scourge of human trafficking, this ongoing genocide in China and wherever women’s rights are being violated around the globe. With resolve, full equality for all women is within our reach.
“Let’s leave the world a better place than we found it.”