Inspirational words for International Women's Day
LONDON, ONT. -- “I believe in you. That’s a good idea. Go do that!”
It’s a message more women, especially young women, need to hear – and one Olympian Sarah Wells delivered at an International Women's Day Event in London on Wednesday.
Wells was one of four speakers at the RBC sponsored discussion moderated by CTV News London’s Julie Atchison.
Mentorship and breaking stereotypes of the past and the present, were key themes.
Broadcaster Christine Simpson, a native Londoner, spoke of growing up in a household with two future NHL stars for brothers.
Simpson says her mother never treated them any different than her, providing a solid grounding for a career in public relations and later in broadcasting.
Still, Simpson says she had to overcome what she saw in media while growing up.
“It’s not like I was sitting at home, watching Hockey Night in Canada, saying, ‘I want to be like her someday’, because there was no ‘her.’”
But Simpson was quick to point out things have changed and are still changing.
She points to this coming weekend’s first all-female broadcast crew for an NHL game between Calgary and Las Vegas.
While Simpson is confident such games will soon become the norm, rather than a first, she remains inspired that young women will see her and her colleagues breaking another barrier.
“I can be a mentor. I can be someone that young girls look up to, because they know through me that they can.”
Dalal AI-Waheidi, the executive director of WE Charity shared her story of how mentorship formed her new beginnings in Europe and North America.
A native of the Gaza Strip, she says mentors helped her to respect and study the thoughts and perspectives of others. She credits female and male mentors, in part, for her success.
“Throughout that journey, the role of mentors have been very instrumental, along the way, to kind of guide me and tell me I would do this differently, I would give you options. I think having role models, diverse role models is important.”
Students from Brescia University College had prime seats for the event, and it’s clear at least two that CTV News spoke with, were left inspired.
“Hearing their stories first-hand really gives you an idea of what it means to be resilient and stand-up for yourself, especially, so, yeah, that was just life changing,” says first-year student Nivi Varagunan.
“We all have a voice, and we can all make a difference, and to be a hero. And sometimes we don’t know what that looks like, but just believing in ourselves is so powerful, and believing in the other amazing women is so important,” concluded student Sophie Young.