Inspired by the memory of Jean Scott, a trailblazer down the pathway towards women’s rights in the Fraser Valley for decades, the Hope and Area Transition Society (HATS) has created the Women of Distinction awards, which they hope will become an annual event.
Born in 1912, Jean Scott spent her life working on the behalf of women’s rights, and was awarded the Governor General’s Persons Case Medal in 1990 for her contributions to the equality of women in Canada. The award had been created in 1979 to commemorate the 1929 ruling that granted five women from Alberta the right to be recognized as persons, thus making them eligible for Senate appointment.
“I’m a woman and I’m glad that I was born a woman because we have the greatest role in humanity,” she once told Black Press.
“One of my first International Women’s Days was in Hope, and Jean Scott was the speaker,” recalled Anna Gladue, program coordinator at the Jean Scott Transition House.
“Jean Scott (was) amazing. I remember her talking about what she went through, women’s rights, and always being on the front lines,” continued Gladue, who added Scott was instrumental in the creation of a transition house in Hope, which provides a safe shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
So following Scott’s legacy, Gladue says she came up with an idea last November to reinvigorate women’s rights in Hope by creating an event that would bring awareness to the issues women are still fighting over, like “gender … balance and equality.
“We recognize we still have a long way to go with equality, and need to bring (more awareness) to violence against women and children.
“We still know there are gaps in pay scales between women and men, and there are still cultural barriers for women who may be from other lands, (and) because women can vote and work outside the house, that now opens up to a lot more work (needing) to be done,” said Gladue.
On March 11, HATS will present the 2019 Women of Distinction Awards at the Hope Rec Centre conference room from 7 til 9 p.m.
The event will “recognize women and the importance they play in our community and society … because they’ve come such a long way in just the last 100 years,” explained Gladue.
“It’s about bringing the community together, so it’s open for men who want to come together and celebrate (women) and hang out” because feminism isn’t about lessening men, it’s about raising women, and there’s something to be said for even a little bit of progression, which Gladue says HATS is hoping for this event.
Open to every woman in Hope, Gladue says HATS is relying on the community to “nominate women of distinction, whatever that distinction is. (If) they identify as a woman, nominate them.”
To nominate a local woman for the Women of Distinction Awards, Gladue urges community members to go online and fill in the HATS nomination form at SurveyMonkey.com/r/QQBS8R7, which only takes a few moments to complete.
The deadline for submitting nominations is Feb. 28, and the winners will be determined by the local Beta Sigma Phi Soroity chapter.
For more information about the Hope and Area Transition Society, please visit their website at HopeTransition.org.