Editorial: Strong women

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The end of May is when the Driftwood pays tribute to the women working in island businesses.

It may seem that paying special notice to female entrepreneurs and staff is no longer necessary — after all, women rule the world, right? In fact, we believe it’s more important than ever to highlight the women who help keep the economy ticking.

Having women in leadership positions of all kinds is important for safeguarding the rights and freedoms won over the last century, as the political situation south of the border makes all too clear. The state laws recently passed that take away women’s agency over their own bodies represent a back-lash to advancements, and are not confined to the United States. Some elected politicians in Canada have openly stated their support for a reversal on abortion in this country. (In contrast, our MP Elizabeth May says she is “unequivocal” in her support of “a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion.”)

According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, women make up just over half of the national population, yet continue to be underrepresented in political and professional leadership positions. Membership in Canada’s top 500 company boards is still more than 80 per cent by men, and women have just 8.5 per cent of the highest-paid positions in Canada’s top 100 listed companies.

And although Canada’s federal cabinet is more evenly split between men and women under Justin Trudeau’s direction, only a quarter of the seats in the House of Commons belong to women.

On the other hand, the Canadian Women’s Foundation says 86 per cent of women surveyed have been encouraged to believe they can succeed by seeing more women in leadership roles, and 67 per cent of women said they learned the most important lessons about leadership from other women.

As our annual Women in Business feature shows, we have many female leaders who are strengthening the local service community. From founding and carrying through successful retail shops to providing expertise on everything from home design to integrated water systems, island women are influencing life on Salt Spring in a hugely positive way.

This year our Women in Business print pull-out has an added feature to help readers get to know our local entrepreneurs. Check out the video of interviews conducted by DW Salty on our website gulfislandsdriftwood.com.

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