“The Women are Coming!” is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day celebration, March 8, from 6 to 9 pm in the atrium of the Centre for Learning at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus.

Organized by the Okanagan College Women’s Centre and sponsored by the Okanagan College Faculty Association, the event features guest speaker Marcy Cohen of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The free, family-friendly event will be hosted by CBC radio’s Alya Ramadan and will also feature the presentation of the Gert Beadle Award, music from the Wee Feminists Children’s Choir, wine from The View Winery, and children’s activities.

This year’s theme is taken from an original poster made in 1970 by Cohen and other members of the Vancouver Women’s Caucus. 

“The caucus organized a caravan that travelled from Vancouver to Parliament Hill in Ottawa to protest restrictions to women’s control over their reproductive rights,” explains Ann McKinnon, College Professor in Women’s Studies at Okanagan College and the Status of Women representative on the OCFA. “We wanted to draw attention to the fact that women are still fighting for their rights and for equality.”    

The annual Gert Beadle award, recognizing a local individual or group who has demonstrated commitment to women’s equality and social justice, will be presented by the Central Okanagan Women's Resource and Education Foundation. 

“Gert’s spirit lives on in the words she has penned, the women she has inspired, and the organizations that she has helped create and nurture,” says the Foundation's Board Chair Olivia Hofer. “In order to help her legacy ‘scatter like seeds’ we have established this award which will reflect the values and philosophies of the grassroots feminist movement. We are pleased to present this award on International Women’s Day.”

The Okanagan College Women’s Centre is run by a collective of women—faculty, students, and community members—and has been open in room A149 at the Kelowna campus since 2009.