International Women’s Day in Canada

International Women’s Day

This article was last updated on March 8, 2023

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International Women’s Day in Canada

International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8, recognizes the accomplishments of women worldwide. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) features a page showcasing inspiring stories of immigrants who have made significant contributions to Canadian communities. Among these stories are the accomplishments of immigrant women who have made a difference in the lives of Canadians.

Dr. Michelle Barton-Forbes is a pediatric infectious disease specialist from Jamaica. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she initiated multiple studies to investigate the risk factors associated with the disease in children, laying the groundwork for future research. After arriving in Canada in 2004 with her three young daughters, Dr. Barton-Forbes worked as a single parent while completing her master’s degree in clinical epidemiology. She is now chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre and is an associate professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. Her research investigates how the medical community can better serve the Black population, who were disproportionally affected by the pandemic.

Zita Somakoko fled from the Central African Republic to Canada at age 34 due to domestic violence. She now owns her own human resources consulting company and is the founder and first president of the Black-Manitobans Chamber of Commerce. Zita’s company also supports Breaking the Silence on Domestic Violence, an organization she founded to increase awareness and accountability around domestic violence. Her personal experiences with abuse and the effects on her children motivated her advocacy work.

Toos Giesen-Stefiuk and her family moved to Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, from the Netherlands in 1981. Toos and her family have contributed significantly to the economic and cultural development of their community. They created jobs, boosted tourism, and actively preserved the town’s heritage buildings. Toos has been part of town council and organized an annual international food festival. Her family also owned and operated a construction company, building the Gravelbourg Inn and Café Paris, a landmark gathering place for the community.

These women‘s stories demonstrate the impact that immigrant women have made in Canadian society. Through their hard work and dedication, they have enriched their communities and contributed to the betterment of Canadian society.

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