Dear UJAA Family,

Today is very important day on our calendar. It is International Women’s Day! For more than 100 years, March 8 has been set aside to recognize and honor women around the world. Yet, even after a century of such a recognition, women still earn less than men in almost every field of endeavor; they are still marginalized in many professions and are still struggling to be seen as equal to their male counterparts. Today when we speak of the need for equity, diversity and inclusion, let us think not just of race and color, but of gender, as for too long, women have been made to feel like second-class citizens within their places of work and worship, and even within their homes.

Here in UJAA, we think differently. We don’t need to be reminded of the equality of women and men. We have lived that experience. We don’t need to be reminded of the work and accomplishments of the women of this organization. After all, for more than half the years of our existence, we have been led by a president who happens to be a woman. Today, we are fortunate enough to have two such esteemed women past presidents within our midst – Lesleyann Samuel and Karlene Largie, who together have led this organization for a total of 14 consecutive years. In addition, over 60% of our current member organizations have a least one woman in the top leadership role of president or vice-president, and of the 12 members our current UJAA Board, seven are women. Colleagues, it is fair to say that women not only run the world, they also run UJAA!

So, on this International Women’s Day, I ask that we stop and think about all the women in our lives, who have made us who we are today. Our mothers and grandmothers, our sisters, our wives, our daughters, our girlfriends, our aunts and nieces; individually and collectively, have been the foundation of our existence. As the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

On this Day of International Celebration, please join me in raising a toast to the UJAA women, without whom, UJAA would not be what it is today!

Michael Salmon

UJAA Vice-President
“Education is Empowerment; Only the Educated are Free”