The Week — March 7: A day to celebrate ladies

International Women's Day: a day to celebrate ladies, art the feminine way and new resources for mamas

Geraldene Coates (front), owner of Marmalade Tart, watches a presenter at the 2012 yoUnlimited event. Coates donated to this year’s “Women to Watch” Award.

Geraldene Coates (front), owner of Marmalade Tart, watches a presenter at the 2012 yoUnlimited event. Coates donated to this year’s “Women to Watch” Award.

A day to celebrate ladies

It’s a day that’s been recognized every year since the early 1900s. It’s a tribute to the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. And in some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, it’s even a national holiday.

Canada may have a way to go in celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. According to the official IWD 2013 website, the maple leaf flag comes in behind the UK, the U.S., Australia and a handful of other countries on official support of the day, but that doesn’t mean Victoria is following the country’s lead as a few local organizers are making sure women are celebrated this season.

“We have amazing women in this city with all this knowledge and experience to share, and I wanted there to be a place to make these connections and showcase this,” says Carolyne Taylor.

Three years ago, Taylor found her answer through creating yoUnlimited, an organization of conferences, events and resources for women. On March 8 and 9 at the Mary Winspear Centre (2243 Beacon, Sidney), the seventh official yoUnlimited conference will welcome IWD with a collection of speakers geared to assist every woman in finding her passion and achieving her dreams, complete with a “Women to Watch” Award aimed at assisting women in business who are making a difference.

“Social media has changed our lives so drastically that many of the connections we make are instantaneous, but we can’t rely on that alone,” says Taylor. “Nothing can truly replace meeting people and looking in their eyes and seeing who they are — that’s what I hear from the women who come to these events; feeling connected to a community is huge.”

A Friday night networking social will be followed by a day-long conference Saturday, with workshops ranging from morning yoga and “Simple Meditations for the Busy Woman” to experimenting with new hairstyles, “How Remarkable Women Lead,” lessons on death and grief, journaling your way to calm, creating a social media plan for your small business, learning how to unleash your sexuality and “Living a Namaste Inspired Life.”

“People who attend the event can expect to be inspired, make new friends, find a new sense of energy and go on to do something they weren’t doing before,” says Taylor. “Just carving out a little time for yourself can really reboot the circuits.”

Tickets range from $27 for Friday to $117 for the weekend through yoUnlimited.com.

Art the feminine way

The Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria will be presenting an IWD art show on March 8, celebrating 33 local female artists with “Our Diversity Makes Us Stronger: A Celebration of International Women’s Day.”

“We want to create a collaborative visual representation of the positive power of women coming together in the Victoria area,” says show co-organizer Betty Meyers. “We believe that the strength of women of all cultures, abilities and ages in Victoria can help to ignite social justice throughout the world.”

Keynote speaker Michelle Jacques, chief curator of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, will welcome works by Pat Martin Bates, Eva Campbell, Sandra Doherty, Yumie Kono, Patricia June Vickers, Sharon White and others.

The opening reception is 7-9pm at The Arts Centre at Cedar Hill, Cedar Hill Recreation Centre (3220 Cedar Hill).

If crafting is more your style, The Makehouse is offering an IWD Open House from noon-6pm on March 8 at the 833½ Fort  location. All women (and men) are encouraged to pop by for tea, cakes and a chat about what women are up to in our city. Guests are also welcome to bring things made by hand.

New resources for mamas

Women in B.C. now have a one-stop resource for accurate information about food safety during pregnancy. The new Eat Safely, Eat Well booklet and posters are now available on the BC Centre for Disease Control website (bccdc.ca/foodsafetyinpregnancy).

“Pregnant women and their unborn or newborn babies are more at risk for getting sick from foods than most people,” says epidemiologist and project lead Marsha Taylor. “Our new food safety resources provide comprehensive and easy-to-read information that pregnant women can trust.” M

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