International Women's Day is celebrated annually on March 8, dating back to 1911. This day was chosen by the United Nations to acknowledge the contributions women make every day around the world.
This year Internationalwomensday.com's theme is "choose to challenge," which speaks to women who choose to challenge the status quo every day to make a positive change for themselves, other women and for their communities.
This theme helped shape a video campaign put together by the Government of Saskatchewan's Status of Women Office. The campaign showcases the culture of resilience and perseverance within Saskatchewan by highlighting three exceptional women leaders and their achievements.
Here is more information about the three women highlighted in this campaign:
Kendra is an award-nominated author, inspirational speaker and workshop facilitator from Sweetgrass First Nation. She came from humble beginnings, but through sport she was able to further her confidence, work ethic and a sense of identity.
Kendra's memoir, Surviving Domestic Violence: My Journey of Self-Care and Healing, shares her story of being a survivor of domestic violence. She hopes that in sharing her story she can encourage others to heal.
Over the last year, Kendra has co-founded two non-profit organizations: Crystal's Gift, which provides gently used furniture items to assist single mothers in need; and IndigiFund, which aims to empower Indigenous youth in sport, education and culture. She has also created a bursary for single mothers in high school or university.
Raised on a farm near Mossbank, Cherilyn is a farmer, speaker and advocate for global policy initiatives. Her smart, humorous and myth-busting approach has made her a go-to resource for keynote speaking and industry consulting. In 2021, Cherilyn was recognized as one of Canada's Top 50 Most Influential People in Agriculture.
Cherilyn holds her ICD.D designation through the Institute of Corporate Directors. Elected as the first female president for the Western Canadian Wheat Growers, Cherilyn challenged government policies that affected the business of agriculture and is a leader on important issues that impact farmers.
Cherilyn always makes time to promote positive stories of agricultural successes. She and her family were featured with Canadian Chef Michael Smith in a video promoting Saskatchewan Lentils and an episode of Canadian Better Living on the topic of pesticide use and plant biotechnology. Cherilyn was invited by the Mattel toy company to be a mentor in the Barbie: You Can Be Anything mentorship program for young girls who dream of being a farmer.
Her fresh thinking led her to partner with the team at www.Utensil.ca to launch a unique online training program, titled "So … Your Client is a Farmer," which is designed to support those who want to strengthen their business relationships with farmers.
Shelby is a competitive para-swimmer from Saskatoon. She has received medals and set world records as part of Team Canada at multiple international championships. Next on Shelby's list is hopefully competing at the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
In 2018, Shelby was selected as Sask Sport's Female Athlete of the Year and was also named Swimming Canada's Female Para-Swimmer of the Year in 2017 and 2018.
When not training, Shelby is also a proud young Saskatchewan entrepreneur, as the owner of Crafty Prairie Girl selling her crafty crocheting projects. She also completed her Education degree from the University of Saskatchewan last year, in hopes to work with children in the future and raise awareness for para-sport to help make schools more accessible to children with impairments.
Thank you to Kendra, Cherilyn and Shelby for sharing your stories and to Leah Mertz for putting together these videos.
For more information, visit the International Women's Day website or share your own stories and use the tags #IWD2021 and #ChooseToChallenge.
To learn more, visit the Status of Women Office webpage.