President and CEO of Global LK, Laraine Kaminsky speaks to a crowd of men and women in support of empowerment. The event was to mark International Women's Day on March 8. Photo credit: Mae Estravo

Women need to amplify each other, reevaluate what they’re apologizing for and to keep working through the career path they choose.

Those were the words of guest speaker, president and CEO of Global LK, Laraine Kaminsky, whose speech highlighted he International Women’s Day event at the college on March 8.

Approximately 125 Algonquin faculty, students and visitors of the college walked into the event eager to hear what she had to say.

Kaminsky entered the room filled with people of all ages with one question to ask: “Why are we still talking about this?”

Every year, this day has a different campaign. However, change is still not happening fast enough, she told the crowd.

Kaminsky pointed out that women always tend to minimize their accomplishments on a daily basis. In order to speak up, start where you want to be in terms of your goal in the industry. Use your power to make your points and get the credit you deserve.

She also emphasized the need to celebrate women’s achievements, to challenge stereotypes and bias within our society.

Kaminsky recently worked at a law firm, where a senior lawyer explained to a mixed group his understanding of paternity leave. He said, “You know why we call it paternity leave? You take paternity and you leave.” In other words, only a wimp takes paternity leave.

There are cultural restrictions which to women are held to higher standards. Many jobs a woman would go for are often seen as a “man’s job”. Examples include lawyers, police officers and anything that would do with technology.

According to a Yale University study that was shown at the presentation, women were perceived as more aggressive, therefore less likely to get the job they want. In the video, both the man and woman had the same resume and answer to the question, concluding that men are more likely to get the job instead of women.

“A little bias goes a long way,” Kaminsky said.

Before the event, attendees expressed why International Women’s Day is significant for them.

“As a woman, I feel it’s important to uphold our independence and the fight for our equality because it’s definitely getting there,” said Isabelle Teeuwen, a personal support worker. “It’s not totally there so I feel that International Women’s Day is a really good reminder for everyone who maybe forgot that we’re not quite there yet.”

Not only women attended the event, but several men made an appearance to come as allies to support women in leadership.

“Supporting them in each and every work of their life — and it’s not just about the professional or their family life — it’s that they have to have support in both the lives,” said Preet Savsani, a director for Students’ Association.

Kyla Mouré, a design studies student, said that her mother is her biggest motivation as she is a woman of power at her workplace.

“[Women empowerment] is something a part of my daily conversation and I think I just want to put an amplifier on it,” she said to the Times. “As I’m doing these things on my own now, I’m becoming more and more passionate about it.”

Adding onto Mouré’s answer, Harinderjeet Kaur, a computer engineering technology student, said her mother is someone she looks up to every day.

“My mom, she is a housewife and a working woman so she motivates me every time, each and every day. She works so hard, so I’m like ‘Oh, I have to do this,'” said Kaur.