The UN’s theme for this year’s International Women’s Day 2014 is “Inspiring Change”
Equality for Women is a Progress For All.
Being the co-owner of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and Lettuce Love Café, with my daughter Erinn has been an eye-opening experience for the two of us as women, to be able to open and run successfully BUSY businesses. It has not always been easy and it absolutely has had its ‘chauvinistic moments’ for example, when trying to establish ourselves with financial resources at the bank (“Are you going to have your husband sign with you?” What?!? Do most men need their wife to sign their bank loans?) or day-to-day activities with suppliers that ask if there is a man to speak to, to business meetings with lawyers and accountants that direct their conversations towards the men in the room (Hello! I’m sitting here too!). It has never been a dull moment in our lives and my thoughts now are, I love the challenge!! I love taking the men on and what’s more? I love winning and having my voice heard and come up with the right answers and solutions.
We’ve experienced first-hand the discrimination that sometimes comes with being female and how difficult and frustrating it can potentially be for Erinn and myself, to be viewed in a less than capable position as business owners – so this particular day resonates deeply within us. We get to say, “We did it!” International Women’s Day is like a “Girl Power” wake-up day and for us to share the LOVE amongst ourselves and to also inspire men to embrace and help support our powerful spirits and wonderful cause for the love of it all.
Much progress has been made to protect and promote women’s rights in recent times. But we are still dreadfully lagging behind in equality behind men. Nowhere in the world can women claim to have all the same rights and opportunities as men, according to the UN (think about that for a moment …”nowhere in the world can a woman be equal”) . The majority of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor are women!! On average, women receive between 30 and 40 percent less pay than men earn for the same work!! Yet women are, the majority of the time, the primary caregivers to our next generation and this translates to children living on poverty too. Women also continue to be victims of violence, with rape and domestic violence listed as significant causes of disability and death among women worldwide.
I was 12 years old when a complete stranger sexually assaulted me and the brutal experience still resonates deeply within me today – 38 years later it still can bring to the surface frustration and unjust thoughts. I bear witness to the fact that as a woman, the odds are pretty good that we will experience sexual assault in our lifetime (1 in 5 women will). As women, we have in a way grown accustom to living in a less than equal world with our male counterpart and have accepted the societal norm of domestic violence, rape, pay inequality, ‘glass ceilings’ and discriminating chauvinistic ideals.
The UN drew global attention to women’s concerns in 1975 by calling for an International Women’s Year. It also convened the first conference on women in Mexico City that year. The UN General Assembly then invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace in 1977 (how cool is that?! Women = Peace). The day aimed to help nations worldwide eliminate discrimination against women.
From that year forward, we have made some progress with the plight of women on the planet. The political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a manner that we can only call hopeful.
As the owners of these “Girl Power” (and I might add, “award-winning and delicious”) businesses, we are advocates for equality of women in every country of this world and we try to bring awareness to how AWESOME it is to be a girl and to rejoice that we have a VOICE and be able to do what we do for the planet. We are so grateful to have the ability to share this vision and passion with so many people. We are also so grateful too that we get to do it together.
The charity we have chosen to sponsor, for this special day, is the one very close to Erinn’s heart and my heart. It is called, Because I Am a Girl and they write:
“The girl issue is real, and it’s affecting girls and women around the world – but what is it? Girls in the poorest regions of the world are among the most disadvantaged people on the planet. They are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be denied access to education, and more likely to be malnourished, simply because they are young and female.
And yet, studies show that when you invest in girls, the whole world benefits. If a girl has enough to eat, a safe environment, and an education, she’ll work to raise the standard of living for herself, her family and her community. And in time, she can even strengthen the economy of her entire country.
Learn more about the unique barriers girls face around the world, but also about the incredible power they have to change the future for everyone.” – Because I Am a Girl.
All profits from the sale of our International Women’s Day Cupcake on March 7th and March 8th, will go to Because I Am a Girl. Please help us help other women and girls and support us these two days. We will take special orders too if you’d like to take a box home. We’ve named it, of course, the “Girl Power” cupcake.
Erinn and I asked our loyal customers and fans to help us create a special cupcake for this day and we were inundated with over a hundred flavours and creative ideas! It was mind-blowing for the two of us and we shed a few tears. After much deliberation, we chose Erica G. as our winner for her beautiful composition. She wrote:
“The best cupcake to empowering women and girls is knowing that a lot of the food we eat is harvested by women. Especially in developing countries women are at the forefront of food. In dedication to all these women, I looked up some foods that are commonly farmed by women. What I found were cacao (Women in Nigeria), coconut (women in Samoa), and strawberries (women in Afghanistan). These foods are just some of the many that have the working hands of women.
With these offerings I was envisioning a layered cacao cupcake, with a coconut cream in between each. The layers represent the continued flight and journey women are on, with the cream representing the many obstacles that have been faced and succumbed. Finally, a topping of a strawberry cream with a candied strawberry; symbolizing the continued resiliency that women will always have.” – Erica G.
Our “Girl Power” Cupcake will embody all of these features that Erica spoke of: A Chocolate Coconut filled Cupcake with Strawberry Cream Frosting and a Fresh Strawberry on top. We are so excited to be able to share this with all of you and to bring some awareness to this celebration of women. We hope to see you Friday March 7th or Saturday March 8th (or maybe both days) for this special day for everyone to enjoy.
Much love and hope xo,
Last year’s event - We were in Oakville to celebrate International Women’s Day 2013.
You can find Kelly (usually) cooking, baking, hanging out with her lovely husband, Ken and beautiful daughter, Erinn and her future son-in-law, Mike and also, meeting and greeting customers or writing her book, at these locations:
Kelly’s Bake Shoppe (better known as Kelly’s XO) at 401 Brant Street, Burlington Ontario