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Saturday, April 13, 2024
NOTLers lead the way for International Women’s Day
A large crowd of NOTL women gathered at the gazebo in Queen’s Royal Park on Monday morning to mark International Women’s Day. DAVE VAN DE LAAR
Juliet Dunn shows up fashionably late for The Lake Report's International Women's Day photo shoot. EVAN LOREE
Kevin MacLean and Coun. Adriana Vizzari help Elizabeth Oliver-Malone to a spot at the head of the crowd. EVAN LOREE
Terry MacTaggart says hello to a friend as women of NOTL assemble for a photoshoot all around her. EVAN LOREE
Valerie Pringle spoke last week at a WINspirational Women talk at 124 Hotel & Spa. The broadcaster is a member of the Order of Canada, and the recipient of the 2023 Women in Business Award Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. JULIA SACCO

The women of Niagara-on-the-Lake made Queen’s Royal Park their stomping grounds on Monday morning.

About 125 women came out to the second annual International Women’s Day photo shoot hosted by The Lake Report at the park. 

Many were standing on the shoulders of the woman giants who came before them.

For Kathy Taylor, it was her grandmother Kathleen Drope.

“Growing up, I was able to spend a lot of time with her,” said Taylor, who volunteers with St. Mark’s Church.

“I admired the way she projected herself in the communities that she lived in,” Taylor said.

Taylor credits her late grandmother for the confidence she enjoys today.

Patty Garriock thinks of her mom on International Women’s Day, which is celebrated every March 8.

Garriock said her mother, Mary Lloyd McCabe, was born in 1918 and graduated from McMaster University.

As she put it, McCabe almost went to law school but “met a man” and settled down to raise four kids instead.

Her aunt Lois Lloyd Smallman was a practising doctor in her time. 

She was accepted into the University of Toronto’s medical school, though the men didn’t want her, Garriock said.

“It’s women who are the inspiration of the world but they don’t get enough credit for it,” she said.

Gail Kendall and Velma Burke, who are active volunteers around town, felt appreciated for the work they do in the community.

Now 80, Burke said she has never felt ignored or undervalued in her community.

On reflection, Taylor said much had changed for women in the past 40 years.

Schools used to enforce dress codes and behavioural expectations more strictly, she said.

And though she preferred a more traditional approach to family life, many of the changes she’s seen in education since her youth are for the better, she said.

She and Margaret Louter, who joined her at Queen’s Royal Park, agreed schools are doing more to address the social needs of children than they were when the women were younger.

Louter, vice-chair of the municipality’s committee of adjustment, pointed out women continue to be under pressure today.

Day care, especially, has women under the gun, as there are many more kids in need of its services than there are workers to supply it.

Louter, who works as a law clerk, pondered who her female role models were.

Law was a man’s world when she was cutting her teeth in the profession, she said.

“There weren’t very many women in the areas that I was working in,” she said. “It’s better now. But 40 years ago, it was not the same.”

“The whole thing about ‘We can have it all’ — it’s not that easy,” she added.

In the world of law, “there’s a lot of demands put on them for their time” and if women want to have a family, they need to be “aware of those challenges,” she said.

Freelance photographer Julie Saggers said it takes a lot of passion to be successful in what you do, especially in the world of business.

“You have to be really passionate and really love what you’re doing,” Saggers told The Lake Report.

“It’s hard to succeed if you’re not super passionate,” she said.

Saggers, after 20 years being in business for herself, said she’s had many moments of self-doubt.

“But I love it and it’s what I do,” she said. “And if I won $55 million today, I would do what I do for free.”

She’s encountered her share of rejection and pushback on her career path, but it’s never stopped her, Saggers said.

“The most empowered I feel is when I get the ‘no,’ ” she said.

“I am a strong, independent woman. And I can do things on my own,” she added.

She gets a lot out of building up other women and takes inspiration from those around her, she added.

Among her personal role models she cited Megan Vanderlee, The Lake Report’s advertising manager, and Amanda Gamble, executive director of the Friends of Fort George.

— With files from Molly Bowron

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