Did you know that of 62 elected positions in the Cowichan Valley, 31 of those are held by women? The Cowichan Valley has quietly managed to achieve gender parity “without fanfare, without a specific slate, or an affirmative action campaign,” according to organizers of the fourth annual Cowichan Valley International Women’s Day festival.
That accomplishment will be celebrated at an acknowledgment ceremony during the festival’s rally on March 7 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Charles Hoey Park.
All 31 women holding office in Cowichan, including those from Cowichan Tribes, the City of Duncan, the CVRD, the Municipality of North Cowichan, and towns of Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan, as well as those from School District 79, have been invited to attend.
Led by emcee Vicki Peters, a Women of Steel 1-1937 member and a support leader in the recent Western Forest Products workers’ strike, the speakers list will feature both young and old.
Youth activist Lexy Lazenby will stand alongside her grandmother, Rhoda Taylor and her great grandmother Sylvia Peecock, who just recently turned 100.
Peecock kept extensive diaries while living through the dustbowl and other transformative events in Canadian political and social history. Taylor will read from these diaries on her mother’s behalf, and Lazenby will speak to the importance of leadership.
Other featured younger guests include Cowichan Tribes youth essay contest winner Eva Elliot, who will read her composition: “What home means to me” and Kyrrah Thomas, who will sing and drum.
There will be an elders tent and amenities for children at the event.
The March 7 rally is just the tip of the iceberg, though, when it comes to events surrounding International Women’s Day, according to the festival organizers. See below for a schedule of events:
2020 schedule of events
“7 Women you should have heard of – A collection” VIRL South Cowichan Branch (Mill Bay) 310-2720 Mill Bay Rd.
12 p.m. One Billion Rising — Duncan City Square (free)
1 p.m. Developing Community Activism — Cowichan Community Centre
8:30 p.m. Jenny Allen/Carla Olive — Duncan Showroom ($15 door, $12 advance)
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. — International Women’s Day Rally — Charles Hoey Park
12 p.m.-3 p.m. — The Red Dress Project presented by Warmland Women — Charles Hoey Park
1 p.m.-4 p.m. — Panel discussion on Indigenous leadership: Empowerment through knowledge The general discussion will focus on the different views of what a leader is, how to cultivate leaders in an educational setting, how through our jobs/personal lives/student lives – we intentionally strive to impact others. There will be a panel discussion with local Indigenous women leaders working in and for communities. Vancouver Island University – Cowichan Campus
7 p.m. — Gals Who Write Songs – Payan/Cari Burdett/Kelly Girven — Duncan Showroom ($20 door, $15 advance)
11 a.m. — Nanaimo Women’s March — 10 a.m. muster at Maffeo Sutton Park, march at 11 a.m. to Nanaimo Entertainment Centre, with performers, speakers, and info booths from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
8:30 p.m. Cara McCandless — Duncan Showroom
7 p.m. — Gals Who Write Songs — Cara McCandless/Mary Egan /Beverley McKeen /Amanda Nixon — Duncan Showroom ($20 door, $15 advance)
March 19-22/March 26-29
The Women of Lockerbie — a play by Deborah Brevoort, directed by Sylvia Swift, produced by Shauna Lumgair Clinging — Mercury Players 331 Brae Road, Duncan — Thursday to Saturday, 7:30 p.m, Sunday 2:30 p.m. Ticket prices: $22 general admission, $17 seniors/students. Tickets at Ten Old Books, First Chiropractic Clinic in Duncan and online at Eventbrite.
6 p.m. — Public Newsroom: Women in Cowichan Media — presented by The Cowichan Discourse — Duncan Showroom
7:30 p.m. — Sweet Alibi — Diamond Community Hall, 4962 Christie Rd., Ladysmith — Tickets $20 (kids 12 and under free)
5:30 p.m. — Duncan Roller Derby season opener featuring the Brass Knuckle Derby Dames — Cowichan Exhibition 7380 Trans-Canada Hwy., Duncan
7 p.m. — Diana Braitwaite/Chris Whiteley’s Round Midnight Jazz Show ($25 door $20 advance) Duncan Showroom
7:30 p.m — Sweet Alibi — Providence Farm, 1843 Tzouhalem Rd., Duncan ($20 kids 12 and under free)
7 p.m. Film: “Maiden” — Cowichan Community Centre, presented by Duncan Reel Alternatives
5:30 p.m. “Embrace” Gala Fundraiser 6 p.m. CWAV fundraiser
7 p.m. Film: “Harriet” — The Hub, Cowichan Station, presented by the Hub Film Club
Cowichan Valley Learn to Skate Cowichan Exhibition 7380 Trans-Canada Hwy., Duncan, presented by the Brass Knuckle Derby Dames