The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 – 2:00 p.m.
Inspiring women, women of Manitoba, members of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada – welcome to this celebration of a century of bringing women together for change.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
The Anishinaabe and Metis people lived along the Red and Assiniboine Rivers long before this place became Winnipeg. And this city remains home to the largest Indigenous community in Canada.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Government House to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada.
Because our minds automatically notice these big round numbers, centennials are an ideal time to look back at achievements and the people who have made them.
So much has happened to change the lives of Canadian women and of families in the century since provincial women’s institutes came together under this national banner in 1919.
The first women in Canada had only won the vote a few years before – right here in Manitoba. Canada didn’t yet have a woman Member of Parliament. Agnes Macphail would break that barrier in 1921.
Throughout the past century of struggle by Canadian women for legal, financial and educational equality, the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada were front and centre.
Think of the relevance of some of the resolutions your predecessors adopted:
1919 – equal pay for equal work
1923 – equal educational opportunities for all children
1933 – appointment of women to public bodies and public service jobs
1976 – establishment of centres to support victims of sexual assault
All those and more are still relevant. In all of those, members of women’s institutes were leading Canada forward.
On those issues and many more, Canada has made progress because of the passion and hard work of women who have accepted the challenge of leading and inspiring others.
In those issues and many more there is still work to do and there is still a need for leaders to accept the challenge of envisioning new and better ways.
It’s so appropriate then that your theme as you celebrate is Women Inspiring Change.
You and the women who came before you have inspired change across our country. You and the women who follow your example will continue to inspire change.
Congratulations on a century of leadership and service. Thank you for the progress made possible by the national voice of Canada’s women’s institutes.