Heritage Matters

Heritage Matters – Spring 2018

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Page 9 of 43

Heritage Matters 8 The year 2017 was, to say the least, one to remember, providing a myriad of opportunities to celebrate, but also to critically examine Canadian history, drawing comparisons between then and now while looking to address the great challenges of the next century and a half. Although much work remains if we are to be fully inclusive and truly prosperous with nobody left behind, as never before I have felt the unparalleled self-confidence, commitment and ambition that motivate us to build kind and caring communities. Ontarians have a long history of seeking to overcome all that stands between us and a more cohesive society. For example, we recently marked the centennial of the Election Law Amendment Act, which granted voting rights to many women in this province, a ground-breaking step on the path to universal suffrage in Ontario. Similar rights were accorded to women at the federal level just a year later in May 1918. The suffragettes' long and difficult struggle to be heard still inspires us to keep working so that everyone is able to achieve her full potential. It also reminds us just how important women have been in building the province and country we know today. Last year, I launched "Unfinished Business," an initiative to inspire all Ontarians to work toward gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Hundreds of ensuing conversations inspired partnerships and collective action with a view to enabling all women to bring their knowledge, perspectives and leadership to every field of human endeavour. While all of these initiatives focused on women and girls, they also recognized that men and boys can be important allies and supporters. Each initiative was of great value, but a few in particular stand out. First, for a day last February, I hosted Ontario delegates to Daughters of the Vote: Marking History, a conference and parliamentary simulation bringing together 338 young women representing each riding in the House of Commons. Not only were these women selected to attend from a highly talented applicant pool, but their presence in the Commons chamber on International Women's Day in The journey of women's empowerment By the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell The Lieutenant Governor poses with Ontario delegates to the Daughters of the Vote conference and parliamentary simulation.

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