happy #IWD!

Today is International Women’s Day.  When I started thinking about this post, I knew that whatever we wrote had to be crazy profound, informative, celebratory, and engaging.  So I did what every curious, thirsty-for-knowledge YWiB-er would do: I went to Google.  And it actually turned out to be a great place to start, since whenever I search for something on Google I’m reminded of the power and impact of women today, and I’m always, always amazed.  Know why?  Because that blessedly simple homepage, those fun-tastic Google Doodle logos, that perfect list of links I get after hitting enter – and my Gmail account, for goodness sake – those elements are the work of Marissa Mayer, a personal hero of mine and Google’s former vice president, search and user experience.  Mayer is now the search giant’s vice president, location and local services (that’s Google Maps and Google Earth to us common-folk).  She’s a cupcake-loving, thirtysomething fashionista who has a Masters in Computer Science from Stanford and was Google’s first female engineer.  Happy International Women’s Day, indeed. Anyways, back to my Google search (thanks, Marissa!).  International Women’s Day is more than a century old, having begun in 1909.  It honours the achievements women have made on a political, economic and social scale all over the world.

What’s happening on this day of celebration?

YWiB is proud to be a part of such a great international community.  We’ve got a rich history, and we’re only just starting out!  Here are some highlights of our contributions to the young women in our own backyard:

  • Beyond Pink is a unique, high-impact, two-day conference aimed at providing real world skills that are applicable to girls from all walks of life.  What started in 2009 became YWiB’s signature event, bringing delegates mentor dinners, insightful workshops, the Entre-Carnival tradeshow, inspirational keynote speakers and panels, and a conference experience like no other.  Watch for Beyond Pink 2012 – it’s back and it’s going to be better than ever!
  • Miss Representation Screening and Panel
    • Miss Representation is the documentary film that’s taken the world by storm, exploring women's under-representation in positions of power and influence in America and challenges the limited portrayal of women in mainstream media.  YWiB, of course, got our hands on it and in partnership with the YWCA Metro Vancouver, Networking in Vancouver, PeaceGeeks, and Vancouver's Women Business Networks, held not one but TWO screenings of the film as well as a panel discussion with some of the city’s biggest names in PR and media,
    • For #IWD, Miss Rep & Lovesocial have partnered to create this great video, check it out!
  • Cross-Generational Salons
    • We bridge that gap they call generational by bringing an accomplished group of Vancouver’s women leaders together with the next crop of girls who want to follow in their footsteps for questions, answers and everything in between.  The next cross-generational salon is coming up soon – you’ll find the details here so keep watching this space!

Of course, we at YWiB wouldn't be where we are today without the amazing women who have paved the way for us and helped us along in this incredible movement.  We’re so lucky to have such wonderful members, advisors, partners, and supporters – THANK YOU!  Our mission is to connect young women with the skills and support to achieve success on their own terms and to become engaged members within their communities.  We can do this because of the women who have set the stage before us in years past, and we hope to equip all of YOU with the tools to do the same for the future.

Happy International Women’s Day!

 I love quotes. I’ve collected quotes since the beginning of Google.  There was one that really stuck with me that was on the cover of the Stanford admissions letter the year that I got in: ‘The world is before you, and you need not take or leave it as it was when you came in.’” – Marissa Mayer

YWiB SFU is "Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures"

Written by Michaela Klassen, Marketing & Communications, International Women's Day Conference Last year, YWiB’s SFU chapter had the pleasure of hosting their first annual International Women’s Day conference.  The sold-out event was a truly inspirational day, featuring amazing speakers, a great panel session and plenty of new connections and friendships.  YWiB SFU will once again be hosting their signature event, but this year everything is bigger and better!

Following this year’s theme, “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures”, the event will be focused on making connections between people and experiences.  While most of us are, in fact, “Young Women in Business,” the event is relevant to girls from any industry and faculty.  Our keynote speakers will discuss challenges that all women face, such as over-coming adversity and achieving your dreams.  The panel will  discuss a variety of questions regarding the unique challenges women face in today’s world and ways to overcome them.  This year’s event will also feature entertainment and an expo showcasing entrepreneurs, start-ups, and non-profit organizations dedicated to women’s rights and advancement.

One of the panelists, Detective Lisa Kofod of the VPD, expressed how excited she is to be involved with this event as she feels it’s important to fill in the information gaps for women working in a male dominated industry.  How do we encourage women to find careers in roles that are often interpreted as unconventional?  According to Lisa, it‘s all about knowledge.  From her experiences, Lisa has observed that most often, women become interested in working for the VPD through their partners or spouses.  “Women often accompany their partner to the application process or information sessions and find that the VPD has more to offer than what society assumes.  By providing information sessions and getting involved with events like YWiB SFU's International Women's Day, we can provide women with the knowledge that is often missing regarding career possibilities in such a male-dominated industry as policing.”

For one of our keynote speakers, Anna Rice, the battle for women’s equality continues to be a top priority. As a member of the Canadian National Badminton Team, Anna has been an advocate for women's equality in badminton for all of her career.  One of the main highlights comes from her fight for equal salaries amongst female and male badminton players; it isn't easy to represent yourself in a world of athleticism dominated by the male superiority.  From the number of male athletes compared to females, to the average salaries between both genders, there are many inequalities that remain in the athletic world today.  It used to be that the females would play shorter games than the male players, and that was the justification for the unequal salaries.  However, when the rules changed and games became equal lengths, Anna took it upon herself to fight for equal wages.

Ultimately, this event will give students and professionals alike the opportunity to connect with other like-minded, motivated individuals who are interested in bettering the situation for women everywhere.

For more information about the International Women’s Day conference, check out www.ywib.ca/sfu/iwd/.  Tickets are on sale now!!  Be sure to follow @YWiBSFU and check out #IWDsfu on Twitter to join the conversation and for more conference updates!