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OPSEU leaders, staff gather to celebrate International Women’s Day

International Women's Day 2018
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To celebrate International Women’s Day, OPSEU senior leaders and staff gathered at lunch on Monday, March 9.

“I’m proud to say that OPSEU has come a long way when it comes to gender equality,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas to the large crowd that gathered at head office and also at regional offices across the province that tuned in via videolink.

“Sixty-two per cent of OPSEU’s staff are women, and more than 66 per cent of our membership are women. Six of our seven Regional Vice-Presidents are women, and they’re all strong, passionate leaders,” said Thomas. “But there’s more that must be done, and we’re committed to doing it.”

Organized by OPSEU’s Employee Relations Unit, participants were encouraged to jot down one or two words that describe their feelings about feminism and gender equality – those words will be used to create a collage that will be shared broadly throughout OPSEU.

The event also featured two screenings.

One was an inspiring speech by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called “We Should All Be Feminists.”

With humour and grace, Adichie talked about struggling against and overcoming some of the entrenched inequalities suffered by all women.

“We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much. To be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men,” says Adichie.

In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.

The other video screened was one of Dove’s well-known Campaign For Real Beauty videos, “Evolution of a Model.”

While Dove has been deservedly  criticized for some of its advertising, this particular ad is a powerful and even shocking illustration of just how heavily doctored are the images of women that we see in magazines and on billboards.

It has also helped spark a global conversation about body image and how the notions of “beauty” that we see in advertising are often literally unreal.