On the morning of March 9, Milton Town Hall was bustling with excitement and enthusiasm from local residents, faculty and students representing Milton high schools, town councilors, and members from various local businesses and non-profit organization— all getting ready for the 3rd annual “March on Main,” hosted by CFUW Milton and District, in celebration of International Women’s Day. Powerful messages were written across an array of signs, such as “Equal Work Equal Pay”, “Press for Progress”, and this year’s theme, “#BalanceforBetter.” According to The World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap Report, the gender gap is widening and achieving gender parity globally will take 202 years. Of the 149 countries assessed, Canada ranks #16 in total, but only 50th in terms of equal pay for similar work.

After Mayor Gord Krantz’s proclamation and a few inspiring words from town councilors and organizers, the large crowd picked up their signs of empowerment and marched into downtown Milton. Lisa Raitt, Conservative MP for Milton, was also there to support the march and expressed how great it was to see so many individuals from different organizations and schools show up. But among the positive and important messages that were at the forefront of this event, Raitt emphasized one word for everyone to keep in mind going forward toward the fight for equality: resilience.

“For all of us to come together today and recognize the importance of speaking out about gender equality, about balance in this world—it’s very amazing to see it happen in Milton and I’m so glad to be a part of it,” said Raitt.

CFUW Milton and District members were delighted with the increased community participation in this year’s “March on Main,” especially from the different Milton high schools. Kathy Lawday, a CFUW member, shared her excitement about seeing the diversity and wide attendance from the high schools, and in particular, the number of male student supporters for the march this year. “I think it’s great that so many of the guys have shown their support, because that’s what will make it happen!” Lawday said. “I think it’s just great to have so many different communities and it shows that Milton is a community-centered place to live.”

Kristyn Pickell, a teacher at Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School, also commented on the students’ strong interest in showing up for the march, and what the day meant for her. “We wanted to show our support for CFUW and come with our students—we have a great group that were really enthusiastic about coming and support the cause and gender parity,” Pickell said. “As a woman, teacher, and mother, it’s very important for myself and my kids.”

It’s important to not only celebrate the many diverse accomplishments of women everywhere, but also raise awareness about gender imbalances and inequalities. Today and every day, as individuals, communities, and global societies, let’s march forward for equality with resilience.

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