Something incredible happened in Ottawa today. Every delegate seated in the House of Commons was a woman for the first time ever. This remarkable scene was the highlight of Daughters of the Vote, which is taking place over the next few days in Ottawa. Coca-Cola Canada is proud to partner with the event organizer Equal Voice– a multi-partisan group dedicated to equal representation of women in government.

Daughters of the Vote was designed to mark not only International Women’s Day but a number of Canadian milestones, including the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 100th anniversary of women’s enfranchisement. Although not all women in Canada secured the right to vote a century ago, it is seen as one of the most important moments in Canada’s suffrage movement.

Today’s special sitting in the House of Commons of these incredible young women is just one part of Equal Voice’s four-day program. The 338 attendees – ranging in age from 18 to 23 and representing each riding in Canada – have spent the last two days tackling the major issues facing women in Canada today. Delegates also had the opportunity to hear from politicians of every political stripe, including the Right Honourable Kim Campbell, Canada’s only female Prime Minister.

“As we celebrate International Women's Day and invite young women across the country to share their vision for Canada in this 150th year, we are thrilled to have the support and engagement of Coca-Cola, and we recognize their commitment to female leadership in the workforce and beyond,” said Lynne Hamilton, National Chair of Equal Voice. “Equal Voice could not do this without strong partners like Coca-Cola.”

This afternoon Stephen Satchel, Senior Director, People Strategy and Transformation of Coca-Cola and a number of representatives from industry joined the Hon. Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Defense, in a discussion on how senior leaders are driving change in non-traditional sectors. The panel, moderated by Canada’s Minister of Labour, the Hon. Patty Hajdu, provided Stephen with an opportunity to highlight the work being done both inside and outside company walls to make Coca-Cola a great place for women to work.

Coca-Cola has a number of programs in place to increase the focus on gender equity, including initiatives to help accelerate the hiring and development of female talent and the promotion of women into senior positions. Similarly, the scholarships announced with Unifor are an example of how the Company is trying to support the next generation of tradeswomen. Stephen also proudly talked about Coca-Cola’s work with 5by20 – the Company’s global commitment to economically empower 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020.

“Unifor has been active in dismantling social and economic barriers for women,” Jerry Dias, President of Unifor, shared. “I’m making a personal commitment to listen to women’s voices and work with companies and employers to find solutions. The work we are doing with Coca-Cola to encourage women to enroll in skilled trades programs is just one example of this.”

The Company knows that empowering women leads to measurable positive effects on the communities they work and live in. Coca-Cola is proud to be a part of Daughters of the Vote and to have participated in today’s important discussion. Coca-Cola thanks Equal Voice for bringing together leaders from business, government and not-for-profit to have this conversation at such an important moment in Canadian history.