The 2015 Business & Professional Women (BPW) BC & Yukon AGM was a great success this weekend in Mission. President Heather Stewart did an amazing job in organizing and running the event. We are very grateful for the amount of time and commitment she has given to BPW.
BPW BC & Yukon, Treasurer, Barbara Hall gave a good financial report with some strong projections for our next term. Past 1st VP BPW International, Jill Worobec, gave a fascinating report on the International BPW scene and BPW BC & Yukon Past President, Shannon McEwing gave us insight to the interesting National BPW activities.
It was a proud moment to hear that BPW BC & Yukon clubs are leading the growth in BPW nationally!
Our BPW BC & Yukon, Vice President, Maggie Reimer has stepped down and therefore there was a vacancy on the board for the remaining 1 year term. BPW Langley Charter Member, Camille Bowling was nominated as 2nd VP and she graciously accepted. We welcomed her fresh ‘newbie’ insights and some great brainstorming took place as we discussed our marketing and communication direction.
The hot topic of the day and evening was the wage gap. Earlier in the day, a review on the status of Equal Pay Day in British Columbia, was given by BPW Langley president, Deanna Evertt. BC is one of only 3 provinces that does not have specific pay equity legislation.
A report in May 2014 from the CUPE website, also showed that women in BC have fared the worst across Canada, as not only has their pay gap narrowed at the slowest pace – only 3 percentage points since 1997, with no improvement over the last decade – but their wages have also increased at the slowest rate of all provinces. The review has led to the start of a resolution process and a plan to lobby government at all levels for BC women.
Members of the Legislative Assembly – Simon Gibson from the Liberal Party and Selina Robinson from the New Democratic Party each presented our group with words of support and appreciation.
Our guest speaker for the evening was Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla, 1st Vice President of BPW Canada. Jenny is an immigration lawyer in Calgary and we were honoured that she travelled out to BC for our AGM.
She gave us a very inspiring presentation on the wage gap across Canada and the work that is being done by BPW worldwide. It was very powerful and moving. Jenny is a woman with great conviction and it was clearly evident in the video she showed us of the rally that she led in Calgary this past winter.
Thank you to all the strong leaders that not only attended that day, that have been working tirelessly behind the scenes – some for 6 decades! There were a few attendees that have been national presidents in the past, as well as some that have sat on the executive for BPW International.
It is through dedicated women such as yourselves that we will bring about awareness on the wage gap, violence against women & children and other important women’s issues so that we can improve conditions for all women in BC and in Canada.
BPW was founded Internationally in 1930 and we have an amazing history and legacy that we – in Jenny’s words, “must continue with conviction”!
Mary Stewart wrote the Collect in 1904 as a member of the Fortnightly Club, the forerunner of the Longmont Colorado BPW club. The Collect was written as a prayer to instill a sense of unity among women working together with wide interests and important goals.
Mary Stewart worked for women’s suffrage nationally and attended the meeting in St. Louis, where the National Federation was launched. She was elected its first corresponding secretary and thereafter took an active part in the growth of the young organization by service as chairman or member of a number of national committees.
This author, who until 1910 signed the Collect with her pen name, “Mary Stuart”, remained involved in BPW until her death in 1943.
Keep us, O God, from pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding and
leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretense and meet each
other face to face — without self-pity
and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment and
Let us take time for all things;
make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.
Teach us to put into action our better impulses,
straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize it is the little
things that create differences,
that in the big things of life we are at one.
And may we strive to touch and to know the great,
common human heart of us all, and
O Lord God, let us forget not to be kind!