by Mayor Nancy Peckford
On International Women’s Day, we join communities around the world to acknowledge the remarkable achievements of women – past, present and future generations – and recognize the courage and solidarity they show every day.
Growing up in Newfoundland, International Women’s Day wasn’t as celebrated as it is today. As a young woman, I had the benefit of some great teachers and community leaders. It wasn’t until I was in high school, however, that this support began to help me see my potential and provide me with new opportunities and the confidence I needed to pursue my path.
As a child, I was very close to my maternal grandmother, who herself had 12 children. She was an incredibly strong person who helped run her family’s general store, while raising her kids. Life was definitely not easy, but she rose to the occasion, teaching herself how to read alongside her younger children, and ensuring they got a good education. Having left school at the age of 11 in a small fishing village, she was proud to have become an avid reader.
It wasn’t until I entered the workforce that I better understood the significance of International Women’s Day. When I became a mother to three small children, I saw the incredible balancing act that so many women confront in trying to do it all. The reality is that you really can’t. As a parent, you see the world through the eyes of your children who depend on you for their health and happiness, and you want to do everything you can to support them.
That’s why North Grenville was such a great community for us to choose. Even though we didn’t have family and friends here when we moved, we were grateful to find hockey, dance, and martial arts. Our community has such passionate volunteers, coaches, and teachers who offer these activities for the well-being of families and seniors.
My decision to become involved in politics was because I had come to understand what a difference positive role models can make, at every level of government. Even though municipal politics is regarded as the lowest level of government, it is the arena where the pedal really hits the metal.
When I decided to run for Mayor, I didn’t know if i would succeed on the first try. Nonetheless, I could see how much we all cared about access to good recreational opportunities, walking trails, road safety, low taxes, and a manageable level of growth.
As a growing community, there were lots of changes coming, and there still are. Better understanding everyone’s perspectives and anxieties, and fostering community partnerships where there are opportunities for individuals of all ages and life stages to enjoy a high quality of life, is so key to a healthy thriving community.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. To help promote a world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the strength, resilience, and leadership that women offer. It is what I saw in my extraordinary grandmother, and what I see in this community all the time.
In my opinion, it’s not about women vs men, but it is about ensuring that everyone gets the chance to bring their best to the table. It’s also, at its core, fostering a society where everyone feels cared about, valued, and respected. I think that’s what previous generations of women have been fighting for – dignity and an equal chance to contribute, not just to their families, but to their community, as volunteers, professionals, entrepreneurs, leaders.
There is not a day that I take being a Mom, or a Mayor, for granted. I am acutely aware that, before long, my kids will have moved out, and that my time as Mayor will have passed. That said, I have decided to seek another term, so that we can finish the work we started.
It’s been a privilege to offer some of my talents to the community where my kids are growing up – and to work with a dynamic group of women and men, both, on Council. As a female leader, I am grateful to give back, and delighted to collaborate with so many in North Grenville who are committed to making our community even better. Happy International Women’s Day!