Mr. Speaker, today I would ask my hon. colleagues to join me in celebrating the 100th year of International Women's Day.
Over the last century, women and girls have made great strides and we can take this opportunity to reflect on the successes, challenges and aspirations of women and girls in Canada and around the world.
As Minister for Status of Women, I have had many wonderful opportunities to meet with women and girls in Canada and around the world. In February, I attended the 55th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The enthusiasm and energy at that session was contagious.
One of the groups I had the opportunity to meet with was Plan International and Girls Delegation. During this meeting I listened to the stories of 13 girls from around the world. They spoke eloquently about the importance of girls showing leadership to achieve equality, end abuse, overcome barriers to go to school, and soar to new heights.
This year Canada's theme for International Women's Day is “Girls' Rights Matter” because girls face incredible barriers around the world that need to be overcome.
A girl who enjoys equality has a greater likelihood of being self-confident and aware of her potential and of being empowered to access education and job opportunities that will contribute to her success.
Today I am pleased to be announcing Canada's intent to support a United Nations resolution to establish an international day of the girl later in the fall. This is a great opportunity and one for which I would ask the support of all parties as we move forward.
Today I am pleased to be announcing Canada's intent to support the establishment of an international day of the girl by the UN later in the fall.
We believe that when girls have a solid foundation from which to spring, with the right tools and conditions they can truly soar to new heights.
A day of the girl will awaken more ideas, support and enthusiasm around the world, and will help raise awareness about violence, abuse, inequality, lack of nutrition, health care requirements and the right to education and training.
Girls play a key role in a nation's prosperity and can become excellent leaders if they are given the opportunity.
It is why at Status of Women Canada we have doubled funding in support of community organizations that want to empower Canadian women and girls in three areas: putting an end to violence and abuse, fostering greater leadership, and promoting greater economic prosperity.
Lastly, this morning, at an event with women business leaders, I announced funding for the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance to provide mentorship for young women who aspire to success in the technology field.
Today, on International Women's Day, let us take the opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made, but more importantly, let us look forward and realize the incredible potential we have to help the next generation soar to new heights.