The Power of Difference

The economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been direct and immediate for women in Ontario. The past two years have been especially challenging for intersectional groups, including racialized women, single mothers, low-income women, newcomers, and women with disabilities.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Discover Ability Network to host an important discussion about the Power of Difference.

ASL interpreter and The Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, opened the session by reflecting on her lived experiences as a person with a disability, and shared the Government of Canada’s plans to promote greater inclusion for persons with disabilities across Canada through the Disability Inclusion Action Plan.

ASL interpreter and Wendy Cukier, Diversity Institute Founder and Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub

Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), Wendy Cukier, set the stage for the panel by touching on some research insights on the barriers facing equity-deserving groups in the skills and employment ecosystem.

Cathy Katrib-Reyes, Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion at CBC led an engaging discussion about diversity in the workplace and the roles that leaders play in creating inclusive and accessible organizations.

ASL interpreter and Panelists Justine Fedak, Nadine Spencer, Maayan Ziv, and moderator Cathy Katrib-Reyes

Panelists included:

  • Nadine Spencer, Acting CEO, Black Business and Professional Association
  • Maayan Ziv, Founder and CEO, Access Now
  • Justine Fedak, Chief Marketing Officer, Merge, and Corporate Hippie

Panelists shared anecdotes, expertise, and encouragement on embedding equity into the workplace and processes. Nadine Spencer noted “when we sit at tables, and we look at the individuals around that table and see a divide or a gap, it is all of our responsibility to ensure that we’re all getting our fair share.”

“Accessibility benefits everyone. The leap you have to make is to unlearn things you think are right… it requires no resources to be exposed to differences and different ways of thinking.”, said Maayan Ziv.

Learn More

Watch the discussion to hear more from these women leaders about the Power of Difference.

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