Camosun College recognizes International Women's Day 2024

As an educational community, Camosun College has a responsibility to advance equity, diversity and inclusion. These values are embedded in the college's Strategic Plan 2023-2028.

In an increasingly complex world, it may be difficult to remember that gender equity hasn’t yet been achieved. For International Women’s Day 2024, Camosun College is sharing the stories of three exceptional women in the college community who are challenging the norms and working towards equity for all.

The college spoke with student Elva Gutierrez, trades alumna Laura Veitch, and director Tehmina Khwaja, to learn from their experiences and perspectives.

The student perspective

Elva Gutierrez, a general science student and the Women’s Director for the Camosun College Student Society, reminds students and the community to continue fighting for equality.

In addition to the work that women do to support each other, Elva values the larger contributions that women make to society. “Throughout history, women haven’t had the chance to let their voice be heard or their ideas to be followed and researched. Women have minds, voices and great ideas. When they are heard, women are able to accomplish extraordinary things.”

The alumna perspective

Pipe trades alumna Laura Veitch made a leap from the fashion industry into Camosun’s Women in Trades Training sampler program.

She finds hope in increased educational messaging to young people that they can grow up to be whatever they want. “I believe exposing kids to numerous job options and diverse groups of people will help break down any doubt they have about following a certain path. With more diversity in our workplaces, I hope we will eventually get to a place where it is no longer talked about because it has become the norm.”

The employee perspective

Tehmina Khwaja, the college’s new Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, aims to find synergies and dismantle barriers with a unique brand of gentle and kind leadership. She points out that there is a prevailing misconception that women have achieved equity.

In leadership positions within post-secondary institutions and many other sectors, Tehmina notes that there are fewer racialized people, Indigenous people, people who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, and very few persons with disabilities. Women have identities that intersect with all of these other ways of being.

“When we consider intersectionality, we see even fewer women occupying leadership positions. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed. We also need to ensure the safety and rights of transwomen on an urgent basis.”

Investing in learning

The United Nations theme for 2024 is “Invest in Women,” and we can think of no better way to do so than education. By investing in learning and leadership opportunities, we are making progress and working together to create better futures for women.

Contact information

Roseanne Harvey

Communications and Marketing Strategist

Camosun College