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International Women's Day celebrates unity, distinct roles

St. Albert Baha'i and St. Albert Interfaith Connections to host online celebration
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Once again the St. Albert Baha'i are celebrating International Women's Day and they are requesting nominations from the community. Elaine Tahririha, pictured here at her workplace in 2020, is the spokesperson. DAN RIEDLHUBER/St. Albert Gazette

International Women’s Day is a global celebration reminding us gender equality is within reach and necessary for the creation of a healthy society.  

The United Nations, the world’s biggest promoter of 2022 International Women’s Day, focuses on sustainability, climate change and its impact on women globally. 

In its attempts to salute local women and bring attention to their achievements, St. Albert Baha’i have always adopted the UN theme, until this year. After a two-year hiatus, St. Albert Baha’i has teamed up with St. Albert Interfaith Connections for an online Zoom event on Sunday, March 13. 

The local chapter’s theme this year is Women: Givers of Life, Carriers of Tradition, Harbingers of Equality and Peace. The 90-minute family-friendly recognition is a blend of stories, songs, and presentations spun together and designed to inform, inspire, and hopefully act as a catalyst for change. 

For Elaine Tahririha, an organizer for the local women's day celebrations, it is crucial to concentrate on unity rather than division. 

“It’s important to see how much progress has been made. The only way to see progress is to come together and to make life better. In the last two years, people have lost their sense of purpose. We’ve been divided over choices and so many things. One of the things we can do is become actively involved in something. We can find a purpose and help someone else and see how we are united. We need to find things to celebrate, and understand the things that need to be done, and play a part,” she said. 

The first portion of the festivities will acknowledge women as givers of life. 

“We’ll have several different stories about mothers and grandmothers to illustrate our themes.” 

In the second bit, an inspirational video clip from Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani blogger who survived being shot by the Taliban and became the youngest winner of the Nobel Prize, will be screened. 

“It’s called the Best Speech Ever and is an illustration of a harbinger, a person who initiates change and opens minds to the positive action,” Tahririha said describing the four-minute clip. 

The third section looks at various traditions, both productive and counter-productive, that have carried over time. 

“We look at traditions that should be kept as well as traditions that hold back girls and boys. We need to look at what is worth keeping and what needs to be pitched in the trash.” 

Long-time St. Albert resident Karen Gall shares a story about her grandmother’s immigration. A couple of the few articles she brought included Shabbat candlesticks used in welcoming the Saturday Jewish Sabbath. 

Cheryl Dumont shares the abusive relationship her mother endured, while Hazel McKennitt relates a story of how her mother, a member of an Anishinaabe clan, grew up in difficult circumstances but became lovingly known to many as Kookum (grandmother in Cree). 

“After the presentations are over, we go into small groups. Everybody has a chance to meet new people and share their stories. We’re trying to make it as interactive as possible.” 

This free International Women’s Day event takes place Sunday, March 13, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Zoom registration is at

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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