Manitoba Women in Agriculture and Food lift women in agriculture up
March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD) and Farms.com wanted to connect with Manitoba Women in Agriculture and Food (MWAF) board members to find out what they’re doing to celebrate and what the day means to them.
For Laura Lazo, chair of MWAF, International Women’s Day is about bringing attention to women.
“It is a time for us to reflect on what we do, what we can do and what we all do. All of us contribute a little and between us, we transform our industry as well as the places where we live,” Lazo told Farms.com.
IWD’s campaign theme for this year is choose to challenge and that’s something MariJo Patino, MWAF secretary and treasurer, encourages women to do.
“My daughter she's 10-years-old and I'm always telling her, ‘You can do anything. If you want to be a firefighter or a police officer or whatever you want, it’s not like you cannot because you are a girl,’” she told Farms.com. IWD “is very important to reinforce the belief that girls can do anything. Women at any age can do anything.”
Linda Zhou, director of planning and sustainability of MWAF, agrees with her two board members and believes IWD is a day to raise awareness and think about the bigger picture.
“It's important to kind of reflect on what the international perspective is. For (MWAF) we have so much diversity in our organization, so I think it's a great day to celebrate that. There's inclusion, there's diversity,” she told Farms.com.
MWAF wanted to collaborate on IWD, so the group made sure to share and connect on social media, said Lazo.
“Our focus is in magnifying the voices of other women and other organizations. That is really one of our strengths, collaboration,” Lazo said.
“As a group we like to collaborate with everybody. So, we are very open to help each other out and to grow together,” she said.
Growing together is also how Lazo sees women helping women in the ag industry.
“The way that I see it is women are kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. The picture works when everybody does their bit. So, we are part of the jigsaw puzzle and we really need each other to make things happen.
“MWAF is here to help make things happen. My personal message to the women in agriculture in Manitoba is you're not alone. If you're trying to figure out a business, if you're trying to figure out how to advance your career, or how to balance things and make things work, you're not alone, we are here,” said Lazo.