This year on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of women and women-identifying individuals around the world and at the University of Guelph. This is a day to reflect on the progress made towards achieving gender equity, as well as a call to action towards building a more inclusive future for everyone.

Celebrating the strength and resilience of women in our midst and beyond takes on a greater significance during these uncertain times when so many of our hard-won victories are under threat. At the same time, as we watch unspeakable tragedies unfold for women and gender diverse people in Canada and around the world, we are reminded of the need to use our voices and our unique positionalities to do more.

This year’s theme from the Government of Canada is Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress. It reminds us that achieving gender equity is not only the right thing to do, but it is also crucial to building a strong future for everyone. When we invest in women, we also invest in our families and our communities.

Conversely, the International Women’s Day campaign theme Inspire Inclusion for this year’s International Women’s Day is a powerful reminder of our responsibility to foster a sense of belonging and empowerment for all women, trans, and non-binary individuals.

Advancing gender equity at U of G

Empowering women is a core part of what we do at the University of Guelph – especially as we Improve Life by transforming our campuses through Indigenization and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Our GenEQ initiative works to advance the status of women across our campuses. GenEQ seeks to understand the barriers women face, support women’s equity in leadership roles, and advance the status of women at U of G and beyond. And it is because of GenEQ that we have an International Women’s Day breakfast each year – which is unique amongst many of our peers. At the University of Guelph, we use this day to celebrate our successes, offer our support to women around the world, and advocate for continued progress on gender equity.

Another example is spearheaded by our Athletics department. She’s Got Game works to support our women athletes. This initiative has raised $2.5M to make sure that women athletes have the best possible access to scholarships, development opportunities, and recognition. Through this initiative, we help these powerful women have a tremendous impact both on and off the field.

These are just a few examples of gender equity work happening across U of G.

To build on this meaningful progress, let us continuously elevate the voices of all women and women-identifying members of our diverse community – regardless of race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, or other intersecting identities.

By working together to empower all women, we can build a brighter, more inclusive, and more equitable world for everyone.

Happy International Women’s Day U of G!

Dr. Charlotte A.B. Yates
President & Vice-Chancellor