Embracing Equity on International Women’s Day

Table of contents


    arch 8th is International Women’s Day. It is an important time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of women and girls from around the world. Social, economic, scientific, technological, cultural, and political – the contributions of women have profoundly shaped the course of human history. It is equally important to raise awareness of the progress made toward achieving gender equity, and acknowledge the work that still needs to be done.

    #TeamABM would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the amazing women throughout history and within our current sphere. From our students, instructors, and staff we are fortunate to be surrounded by a diverse array of talented women. We selected a few of them to share their stories with you.

    Distinguished Female Luminaries

    Hedy Lamarr the genius inventor and Hollywood star from the 1940s
    Image by National Inventors Hall of Fame

    Ada Lovelace – The innovative English mathematician is credited with being the world’s first computer programmer in the early 1800s... A full century before the first computer was even built!

    Emily Murphy – A Canadian advocate for women’s rights, she was appointed as the first female magistrate in both Canada and the British Empire in 1916. After taking the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada and the British Privy Council, Emily successfully won the right for women to be declared “persons” under the law in 1929.

    Florence Nightingale – The founder of modern-day nursing. After mending countless wounded during the Crimean War, she established the Nightingale School of Nursing in London in 1860.

    Grace Hopper – In addition to designing Harvard’s Mark I computer in 1944, she also invented the world’s first compiler. The device translated written language into computer coding.

    Harriet Tubman – The conductor of the Underground Railroad that helped more than 100,000 African American slaves escape to freedom in the northern USA and Canada.

    Hedy Lamarr – She gained fame on the Hollywood big screen in the 1940s, but her most important contributions stemmed from her mathematical and engineering talents. Her concept of ‘frequency hopping’ was developed to improve torpedo technology in WWII and became the foundation of modern-day Wi‑Fi and GPS.

    Malala Yousafzai – In 2014 she became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate at age 17. Malala is a diligent advocate of human rights, particularly in regard to the education of women and children.

    Marie Curie – The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the first person ever to win two. Her scientific research revolutionized our understanding of radioactivity.

    Mary Shelley – H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, H.P. Lovecraft, Gene Roddenberry… There have been many iconic science fiction writers over the years, but Mary Shelley invented the genre with her timeless classic, Frankenstein in 1818.

    Deborah Cheesman, ABM Valedictorian 2022

    Deborah Cheesman the ABM Valedictorian for 2022 in Addictions and Community Support
    Image by Deborah Cheesman

    Deborah graduated as the valedictorian for ABM’s Class of 2022 with a diploma in Addictions and Community Support. Her dedication and drive helped her to excel in the program and served as an inspiration to her classmates.

    The theme of International Women's Day this year is “Embrace Equity”. What does equity mean to you personally?

    • “Equity means having the same opportunities to advance and succeed as anyone else where my voice is heard and there are no biases or discrimination against me because of the color of my skin, religion, or beliefs. It means being treated fairly and justly.”

    Is there a particular woman who inspired you in your life? What is the most important lesson you learned from her?

    • “My mother is a great woman who has and continues to inspire me every day. The most important lesson I have learned from her is, it does not matter how little I have, I should always give to others who are in need.”

    Is there anything you would have changed in your life to help you realize your potential easier?

    • “I would change the fact that I did not stand up for myself and stop doubting my strength and capabilities. That would have helped me realize my potential earlier.”

    What do you consider your proudest achievement?

    • “Before I would have said having my first child or when I got married but now – my proudest moment was delivering the 2022 valedictorian speech at my graduation and hearing my three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter say in her loudest voice “THERE IS MY GRAMMY!” as I entered the stage. I will never forget that! (As women we are unstoppable, age, family commitment, or gender will not stop us from achieving our goals).”

    Sadaf Shakeel, ABM Senior Admissions Advisor

    Sadaf Shakeel the ABM Senior Admissions Advisor
    Image by Musawwir Muzaffar

    Sadaf Shakeel is a Senior Admissions Advisor for ABM College. Her drive and dedication make her beloved amongst staff and students alike. Since joining the team in 2022, she has helped hundreds of students on their educational journeys.

    The theme of International Women's Day this year is “Embrace Equity”. What does equity mean to you personally?

    • “For me, equity means value to men and women in the society based on their contribution in the development process. I believe women's strengths should be acknowledged in every part of advancement so I always guide my daughters for the same.”

    Is there a particular woman who inspired you in your life? What is the most important lesson you learned from her?

    • “My mother especially as I learned how to be multitasking and to tackle solutions to all problems through my full efforts first. Tackling problems with full effort means putting in the necessary work to find solutions and overcome obstacles. This requires both perseverance and a willingness to take on challenges, qualities that are essential for success in any endeavour.”

    What has been a key factor in achieving goals in your personal and professional life?

    • “Developing myself with rational goals and striving for them with real effort. I always try to bring my goals and actions in alignment with values while realizing my real potential and balancing the quality of life and always being there to help others with a positive energy.”

    What do you consider your proudest achievement?

    • “My proudest achievements are the values I have entrusted my kids with, whether it is being trusted in hard work or maintaining transparency in all matters of life. Raising kids with strong values and a solid foundation is no easy task, and it’s a testament to your dedication and hard work as a parent.”

    Kristine (KC) Leyesa, ABM Student Services Department Manager

    KC Leyesa the ABM Student Services Department Manager
    Image by Musawwir Muzaffar

    Kristine is the Student Services Department Manager at ABM College. She oversees multiple departments and is personally involved in every aspect of student support. From admissions compliance to employment services and everything in between. Born and raised in the Philippines, Kristine moved to Canada in 2018.

    The theme of International Women's Day this year is “Embrace Equity”. What does equity mean to you personally?

    • “Equity for me is fairness - it’s about people being treated the same way regardless of their gender, their race, their social economic status, or their education. It really comes down to fairness.”

    Is there a particular woman who inspired you in your life? What is the most important lesson you learned from her?

    • “It has always been my mom. I know it’s very cliché, but she’s been my inspiration. The way she takes care of my family while working, just the balance of everything she does. She’s a school principal and I see how much she cares about her work. To her it’s more than just a career, it’s part of her life. She managed to be successful in her career as well as raise three professional kids. I really admire her for that. She is strict, but she has a kind heart which is something I always aspire to.”

    What has been the biggest challenge in your personal or professional life? How did you overcome it?

    • “I think my biggest challenge has been fighting myself. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been an overthinker. I was always full of anxiety and it affected my confidence and my self esteem. Growing up with that is really difficult because you always second guess yourself and wonder whether you’re good enough. Even when people are saying you’re doing good there’s always second guessing. Coming to Canada and working at ABM, realizing that people appreciate my job and the work that I do here is really uplifting to my confidence and spirit. I am good enough. It’s an everyday struggle, but what really helped me is feeling that my family, my partner, and the people here support me.”

    What do you consider your proudest achievement?

    • “Making my parents proud. I came here to Canada with no family and had to overcome many challenges. I always want to do better, to be in a better place careerwise. I started here from the bottom, and I’m really proud of myself right now because I’m in a position that I never imagined before. I always figured I’d be a follower. I wanted to be a leader, but I never expected that in four or five years here that I’d be at this point. My family is proud of me too, and never fails to remind me of that.”

    Final Thoughts

    Bold and Beautiful. Tough and Tender. Grit and Grace. Funny and Fierce. Sassy and Savvy. With so much wondrous diversity, it is to the benefit of all for EVERY woman’s voice to be heard.

    ABM College proudly salutes the invaluable contributions of all the women who strive to make our world a better place. While we all feel gratitude for their impact daily, it probably isn’t expressed as often as it should be. On March 8th, take the time to convey that appreciation to the important women in your own lives. To every mother, sister, daughter, partner, friend, and co-worker out there who has touched our lives, thank you!

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