Nominations sought for exceptional women to be recognized in honour of International Women’s Day

by Stephen Dafoe

Residents have just over three weeks to nominate exceptional area women for some special recognition. For the past 23 years, the St. Albert Bahá’í community has sponsored an annual celebration of United Nations International Women’s Day by recognizing the contributions women make to society.

These contributions include their generosity of spirit, courage, creativity, determination, steadfastness, leadership, enthusiasm, love, caring, and other attributes that enrich the communities in which they live. This year’s celebrations will take place in St. Albert on Mar. 7, but the deadline for nominations is at 9 a.m. Feb. 7.

Past recipients from Morinville and Sturgeon County have included Nicole Boulanger, Georgina Scott, Jeanine Chalifoux, Misty Featherly, Susan Evans, Louise Horstman, Lisa Holmes, Brandi Robinson, Rebecca Balanko, Sarah Hall, and Lynne Rosychuk.

Baha’is believe that world peace cannot be achieved until women achieve equal and rightful status working alongside men in all realms of society, including political, economic, social and religious.

The St. Albert Baha’i use International Women’s Day to recognize the contribution of women in the St. Albert and Sturgeon County., women who they see as being unsung heroes in the background.

Organizer Elaine Tahririha said the event is important to the St. Albert Bahá’í community.

“In some countries, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a public holiday; in others it is ignored. In some nations, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day of celebrating womanhood,” Tahririha said, adding the St. Albert Baha’is have been marking IWD with an inspirational, thought-provoking, and uplifting evening ceremony for the past 23 years.

“We celebrate and honour outstanding local women and girls, while at the same time, acknowledging the progress and the plight of females world-wide.

“The Baha’i Writings teach that women are equal to men and that they are the same before God. However, society has not yet achieved equality because of lack of educational, social, and political opportunities.

“Baha’is see IWD in the context of humanity’s necessary and unstoppable march towards equality that will benefit all people on this planet.

“For the past 25 years, the United Nations has recognized these issues and mobilized resources to aid in the advancement of girls and women. Sadly, in a message this year the United Nations stated, “Progress has been slow. Multiple obstacles remain unchanged in law and in culture.”

Tahririha said the St. Albert event provides a focal point to reflect on the progress of girls and women around the world, to consider the obstacles still facing humanity, and to be inspired by remarkable women right here at home.

“It’s not just about women’s rights. It’s about human rights! The progress of girls and women is progress for all,” she said.

Local nominees sought

The committee is currently looking for help finding nominations for unsung heroines living in St. Albert and Sturgeon County, including the communities within Sturgeon County.

Nominations are open to women and female youth who demonstrate a generosity of spirit, courage, creativity, determination, steadfastness, leadership, enthusiasm, love, caring, and other attributes that enrich their communities.

Nomination considerations include the areas of motherhood, aboriginal initiatives, science, arts, business, community service, health, literacy, mentorship, peace, and youth. The public, organizations and community groups are all welcome to submit nominations.

Tahririha and her fellow organizers are looking for the community’s help.

“Noteworthy women are in our midst. Please let us know who they are. Nominate them,” she said. “Tell us about them and how their unique contributions, small or large, have made a positive difference in the lives of others.”

The deadline for nominee submissions is Feb. 7. Nomination forms are available at www.stalbertbahai.org, or by email at stalbertlsa@gmail.com.

Entries can be faxed to 780-460-8408 or emailed to stalbertlsa@gmail.com. They can also be mailed to Box 87, St. Albert, AB T8N 1N2, but must be postmarked by Feb. 7.

For more information call May at 780-459-4060.

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