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What will you be doing on Friday, April 17, 2015? It seems like an ordinary day, among many ordinary days.  However it is a special day for all Canadians, as we celebrate the equality rights that were enshrined in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on this date in 1985.

Cambridge Celebration of WomenThe “Cambridge Celebration of Women” program has the city partnering with the community to bring awareness of three historical dates that are important to women and equality, namely International Women’s Day March 8, Charter Day April 17 and Person’s Day October 18.

This is the second event, Charter Day, in the series of awareness programs provided for our community.  The city is pleased to partner with the Cambridge YWCA, The Idea Exchange and the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra.

You will notice banners popping up in libraries and city hall commemorating the work and advocacy of Canadian women who demanded that rights for women be enshrined in our charter.  That came after three years of negotiations with the Federal Government and resulted in Section 28 being added to the Charter in 1985.

Section 28 states:  Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.

The Idea Exchange will, as a part of their children’s programming, be producing buttons relating to this theme.  Also in the evening, there will be a poetry contest that highlights the Charter Day celebrations.

The Cambridge Symphony Orchestra has its major fundraiser performance, Una Serata Bella that evening at city hall and will also celebrate the importance of the day by dedicating some songs in honour of the day.

Whatever you may be doing on this special Friday, pause to reflect how forward thinking our foremothers were to insist on equality rights for women.  Be grateful that women today can and are working along-side their male counterparts in all types of jobs, making contributions in politics, boardrooms, industry and beyond.

Our society has not yet reached equality for all.  Women and other disadvantaged groups identified in the Charter still need advocacy on their behalf.  However, there are times, like this day, that society should stop and reflect on our successes and celebrate how far we have come.

Happy Charter Day!

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As a member agency of YWCA Canada, YWCA Cambridge is part of a national movement known as the country’s oldest and largest women's multi-service organization, the largest national provider of shelter, literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs, and is the second largest provider of childcare services in Canada.

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