As International Women's Day dawns, stories of strength, empowerment, and progress get told globally, helping reshape our understanding of equality and freedom for women worldwide and here in Portage la Prairie. 

Mayor Sharilynn Knox says she is thankful to hold a position of influence within our community, giving a voice to women who may not usually have one. 

"It's important when you sit in a position like this and represent women, and you also want to be a role model for young women. If you can take time to hold space for other women and listen to different perspectives. We've got a long way to go to equal representation in some of these roles, so if I can be a caveat to helping people have a voice and be heard, I will work hard to do that."

Tracy Vanstone, the Principal at École Arthur Meighen, says being a woman in a leadership position hits close to home. 

"It's very personal because my mom was a female school principal and so I know it was challenging for her to become a school leader. Times are changing, and I'm thankful for that because there are many fantastic female school principals in the province. It's my mission to develop and train aspiring leaders, so I'm provincially involved with committees and work to help new and inspiring leaders, and we need to do that. We must ensure that our kids and future kids have great school leaders in their schools."

Alicia Pettinger, one of the owners of Mil-Jeanne's Flowers and Accents, says she loves getting to do what she does every day.

"I'm proud to be a woman in business in Portage la Prairie. I want to serve our community and empower other women to achieve their goals."

Liz Merrick, Long Plain First Nations Council Member, says she is grateful for the opportunity to represent Long Plain First Nation Members and, more specifically, the women on Long Plain. 

"Being the only female on Council is a tremendous responsibility. Kitchi miigwech to all the women in my community who strengthen me in this role. We have a voice at the Council table. I say what needs to be said, and I do it in a respectful and honourable way. Chief David Meeches has acknowledged our woman as he has appointed me Vice  Chief for our term in office."

Dawn Froese, the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Plains, says being in a women-led industry is greatly empowering. 

"It just reflects to me that, not that men aren't caring. That's not it at all. But women are caring and want to make their communities different, so they look for places where they can do that."

No matter who the woman is, where she works, or where they are from, make sure you appreciate how hard they work daily.