One hundred years ago a savvy campaign helped Canadian women win the right to vote. The access to the vote would exclude indigenous women until 1960…

Recently I attended a women’s event and realized just how little we have gained in terms of equality since these events. To my surprise, many of these highly accomplished women believe there needs to be quotas to increase the percentage of women on boards. Why quotas when women are qualified to be on boards based upon their own merit? Who wants to be the woman on the board who was there but perceived not to actually be qualified by the men?

Women spoke about rules of behaviour when dealing with men, such as acting like one of the guys by dropping the “F” bomb in order to be accepted, or missing out on valuable meeting time because they did not play golf. One woman stood up and said to the crowd of about 250, “We need to tell men how valuable we are. What century is this?”

I will never explain my value to a man or anyone else. Their Loss.

I am not sorry for being a woman (more on that later) or for missing a shot on the tennis court or because I asked a question on an all-male board before my requisite year was up or some other innocuous reason.  Don’t Be Sorry.

I will never devalue myself by saying I am just a woman,  just a nurse, just a lover, I just have a question,  just a whatever….. Just Value Yourself!

I tell it like it is. Call a spade a spade. I have no fear about anyone disagreeing with me and I am happy to put forth my opinion, prior to the general consensus and will stand by it.  Don’t Live In Fear. 

I am happy with my imperfectly perfect body. It is my tomb. It provides me with pleasure, gets me places, and allows me to see above the crowd sometimes. It’s multiple functions are like a symphony orchestra where I am the conductor in tune with my body.  It does not disappoint me and I do not want to disappoint my body which is why I am grateful for and respectful of it.  Love Your Body.

People talk.  I hear nasty things that one person has said about me to another.  If people are talking about me their lives must be incredibly dull.  Keep Talking.

If I hear someone talking about you my sister friend, I will not engage and I will ask them to stop. End Gossip. 

As a woman in business I have had many people (men and women) support me and many who have not.  Some have tried to take me down with everything from veiled threats to outright lies.  I love those who support me and forgive those who don’t.  Often the nastiness propel me forward.  Forgiveness Is a Gift You Give to Yourself.

In the workplace I have dealt with sociopaths and sexual harassers. Don’t Let Them Steal Your Light. 

As a woman speaking publicly about sex, many men make assumptions.  Ladies, if you find an email that your husband sent to me or another woman for that matter, understand that your problem lies with your husband.  End Slut Shaming.

Most people believe that I am like the country I live in, “everything came too easily to me.”  The recipe for my success has been the right dose of need, desire, creativity, love, loneliness, hard work, reality, sacrifice, loss, perseverance, persistence, heartache, anxiety, openness, joy, beauty, helping others, sharing, caring, losing, Karma, failure, ideas, inclusion, exclusion, opportunity, pushing past barriers, gender bias, kindness, family, discrimination, being belittled, berated, late nights, early mornings, hikes, tennis, music, the ocean, my kayak, friends, chats, tears, standing alone, standing together, sexual harassment, workplace bullying, sickness and health…. No one said it was going to be easy.  No Regrets. 

I am a warrior woman but sometimes I weep. That said, I do whirl with joy. At times, I win. The joy of the win has been a result of whatever the cause may have been, feeling the disappointments along the way and the wonder of my perseverance. Never Give Up.

I try my best but sometimes it does not work. Keep Trying.

Sometimes life is not fair BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN. But, I love being a woman and have no shame that I am “all woman.” As a feminine feminist I own my sexuality and desire equality for all women whether it be for access to health care and education, equal pay, shared chores, reproduction or legal rights, front-line combat and land ownership. Women’s Rights Are a Critical Issue.

On this day when we celebrate the 100-year anniversary of women ascertaining the right to vote in Manitoba, I realize we have many more years to go before women will be perceived and accepted as equal to men.  Know Your Worth.

So let’s take a page out of our foremother’s book and launch a vigorous and ambitious campaign to seek equality for all women, by women who have a passion to change the world. This begins with each and every woman.  Good men welcome too.  Let’s band together. We Are Stronger Together. 

Maureen McGrath

Maureen McGrath

Host of the CKNW Sunday Night Health Show on Corus Radio. As a leading women's health expert and Registered Nurse, I understand the importance that sexual, vaginal, bladder and bowel health has on overall health and relationships.

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