International Women's Day: These are the women who inspire our readers

Mar 8 2021, 3:41 pm

A few weeks ago, we asked our readers to nominate women in their lives who inspire them for International Women’s Day (IWD).

IWD is a global day that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This past year has shown us that offering gratitude and celebrating those around you is needed now more than ever.

Here are just a few of the submissions that we received of incredible women in our communities who are everyday superheroes, uplifting, leading, and inspiring those around them.

 Agnes Chang

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Agnes Chang/Supplied

Nominated by: Kate Sonego

How do they inspire others: Agnes is a mental health nurse in the DTES I have worked with for three years. She’s the most selfless, patient and honest person I’ve ever met. Every person she meets, she engages with no judgement and a huge heart of compassion that’s unmatched. She is the hardest working woman for her team, her family and for the most vulnerable. There was another recent out-of-control COVID outbreak at the senior care home; she didn’t think for a second to put herself there to help them out. She’s a superhero, and she is so inspiring to me and everything I hope to be as a woman.

Elicia Elliot

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Elicia Elliott/Supplied

Nominated by: Dani Delaloye

How do they inspire others: Working in the consulting engineering world it’s rare to come across a woman in a senior technical position, let alone one who is a truly inspiring and empathetic leader. I have been working in this space for almost 10 years, and Elicia is the first woman I have seen as a role model at my company. She not only empowers the women around her in the workplace, but she is also a dedicated advocate for women in her spare time. Most recently she created an online space for womxn to gather, where she encourages us to listen and share, help and ask for help, and laugh and cry. I have personally found the community she has grown through Womxntalking invaluable in the time of COVID. I have learned so much from Elicia and feel lucky every day to be able to call her a close friend.

 Skye Augustine

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Skye Augstine/Supplied

Nominated by: Allison Stocks

How do they inspire others: Skye is absolutely one of the most incredible women I’ve had the chance to know in my life, and I am lucky to call her one of my closest friends. She is from the Stz’uminus First Nation and has committed her life to her community and to revitalizing Indigenous land management practices. Skye is simultaneously pursuing her Ph.D. with the Coastal Marine Ecology and Conservation Lab at Simon Fraser University and works as a policy analyst with the Indigenous Affairs Branch of Parks Canada. Skye spent five years leading the clam garden restoration project, a five-year, collaborative study involving Coast Salish First Nations and various partners to examine the impact of ancestral management practices in intertidal ecosystems in the southern Gulf Islands, combining traditional knowledge and scientific study. Skye is a leader, a mentor, and she is incredibly kind and dedicated to her family and friends.

Sima Alimardani

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Sima Alimardani

Nominated by: Sahba Sadeghian

How do they inspire others around them: Sima immigrated to Vancouver four years ago from Iran to make a better life for herself and two children. After being a sociology teacher for 25 years, she followed her culinary dreams here and became a chef. My mother, Sima, works harder than ever as an essential worker these days, and her strength and love inspire me every day.


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Nominated by: Jo

How do they inspire others: My mom will be 89 this year, and despite being bilaterally deaf and nearly blind from glaucoma and macular degeneration, she still makes her own noodles and cooks, cleans, and does laundry for my 94-year-old father. She came across the Pacific alone with 3 children in tow and no English. She worked full-time until retirement. All of us kids have her to thank for keeping the household together. She and Dad will have been married 64 years next week. I am humbled by her tenacity and perseverance.

Vaishali Chutani

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Vaishali Chutani/Supplied

Nominated by: Madhur Chutani

How do they inspire others: Also, an immigrant mom who made the initiative to bring us to Canada, my mom! Twelve years later, she went back to school, completed her degree in childcare, got her driving licence at the age of 54! She’s my rock. She has been strong and always encouraged me to follow my heart! She is kind, soft, strong like a rock! My mommy!

Jennifer Reddy

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Jennifer Reddy/Supplied

Nominated by: Nirat Sohpaul

How do they inspire others: She is just a very loving and very amazing woman of colour who gives back to the community in any way she can. She is a co-founder of a grassroots organization called EdMeCo. They help marginalized/immigrant/refugee youth pursue their career and educational goals to succeed in life. I nominate her because she really deserves recognition. Also, is a great advocate for children as she is the VSB school board trustee looking to see more social justice changes in the system. She also is a senior social planner for the city leading policy development, public education, and socio-cultural programming, anti-racism, multi-culturalism, decolonization, and cultural redness.

Amin Jaswal

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Amin Jaswal/@lizrosa

Nominated by: Samantha Smith

How do they inspire others: In June 2019, Amin was diagnosed with stage IIB cervical cancer. She battled a long and gruelling journey of many chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Unfortunately, after a few months of remission, her cancer returned. She is the shining light in all of our lives. Her ability to put others before herself and continue to fight for women’s health is nothing short of amazing. She is a talented writer (@aminjaswal), gynecological cancer advocate at BC Cancer, and a beautiful soul. We don’t know what the future holds for Amin, but I’d love to be able to recognize her courage and strength.

Ava Turner

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Ava Turner/Supplied

Nominated by: Wanja T Mwariga

How do they inspire others around them: Ava is a strong woman who has been working as a frontline worker and hasn’t really taken a day off since the pandemic started. Ava inspires me because she always manages to stay upbeat even when she’s exhausted and never complains. She always finds a way to support and empower the people around her to be their best selves.

Maryam Mottaghifar

Nominated by: Kimiya Shokoohi

How do they inspire others around them: My mom works for a non-profit called Burnaby Family Life. She has been there for more than 20 years and has often been called the heart of the people among the people that have come through the centre on their way to building their lives anew in Canada. In her career she has opted to focus her attention on ground floor operations, putting people first, rather than climbing the proverbial corporate ladder. She is a true unsung hero whose work has made an immense difference in the lives of new Canadians, and I want to put her name forward for recognition. Migration is an immense challenge, and many of us have experienced the difficult process of having to start anew, often with little to no support at all. Having people in our lives and communities that are there to help us reach our next life milestone is imperative. For her role in my life and the lives of many others, I want to nominate her for this long-overdue recognition and to say thanks, Mom.

Tamlyn Smith

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Tamlyn Smith/Supplied

Nominated by: Laura Robertson

How do they inspire others around them: She is a mother of two boys, working from home for a non-profit where she speaks with donors daily and encourages philanthropy in the community, advocates for childcare within her small community of Squamish, works full time while going to school, sign up for regular courses to better herself in topics of diversity and has a special interest in reconciliation with the first nations community, she continues to educate herself and find resources on child development specifically to support her eldest son while navigating the uncertain world of autism spectrum disorder and other developmental delays that they are encountering with him, she is generous with her time, energy and friends and a pillar of support to me in my life. She’s an amazing friend that doesn’t get the recognition she deserves and always puts others first.

Loujain al-Hathloul

loujain AlHathloul

Loujain al-Hathloul

Nominated by: Mohammad Aldossary

How do they inspire others around them: UBC Alumni and women rights activists who got jailed for three years and recently got released. She stood up for every woman and what she believes to be right.

Diane Gervais

Nominated by: Vanessa Gibeau

How do they inspire others around them: An amazing woman who has gone through so much but gives herself every day to the community and those who need someone to advocate for them. She has fed the unhoused every weekend since the fall without fail. She treats them with care and humanity that so many others are incapable of. Diane took it upon herself when she realized these people would fall through the cracks. She has had to fight the city in order to do so and rallies to protect them every day. She also does amazing things for her building association. She is making sure everyone has the resources and that their kids have access to activities unavailable to them else wise. She recently won the vote to be on our community’s committee. She is a strong, passionate, beautiful woman. I seriously can not think of anyone more deserving.

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