Winnipeg women offer advice, encouragement to their younger selves through letters
Advice aimed at encouraging young women and girls who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic
The realities of everyday life during the COVID-19 pandemic have been deeply felt by women.
While the unemployment rate for women in Manitoba last month dropped to 7.3 per cent — from 9.4 per cent in January 2021 — there are still gaps between how men and women are experiencing job loss and household pressures.
CBC Manitoba reached out to female community leaders in our province earlier this month, on International Women's Day, and asked them to write letters that offered advice and encouragement to their younger selves.
Sharing these letters on social media was a way for women to help others who might be struggling to cope during COVID-19.
These letters were originally shared on CBC Manitoba's Facebook and Instagram accounts. We've compiled them here, along with biographies submitted by the authors.
Diane Roussin: Lean heavily into courage
A proud member of Skownan First Nation, Diane Roussin is an Anishinaabe community leader passionately committed to the pursuit of mino bimaadiziwin (the good life) for all families and children.
She is currently the project director of the @wpgboldness, a social innovation initiative that seeks to create large-scale systems of change for children and families in Winnipeg's Point Douglas neighbourhood.
Michelle Gazze: Your path is going to look different
Michelle Gazze is a community-driven leader. From career development to communications, she has over 10 years of experience leading community engagement initiatives for non-profit, private and public organizations.
Born in Winnipeg and representing deep Guyanese roots, she is passionate about maintaining her self-identity while creating environments that support inclusivity for new Canadians through her volunteer work with the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, the Rising Stars Foundation, and as a board member with Lupus Canada.
Sana Mahboob: Focus — distractions delay success
Holding a bachelor of science from the University of Manitoba, Sana Mahboob serves as the senior communications advisor with Western Economic Diversification Canada.
Thanks to the influence of her parents and brother, she is an avid community advocate, serving on various local, national and international boards ranging from philanthropy, sports, youth and information technology.
As an immigrant to Canada, Mahboob brings a diverse perspective and passion to everything she does, professionally and personally.
Yijie (Jennifer) Chen: Growing up on food rations
Yijie (Jennifer) Chen is a trustee for the Winnipeg School Division and president of the Women of Colour Community Leadership Initiative.
She was born in Nanjing, China and moved to Winnipeg in 2009 to study for her master's degree in kinesiology. She is passionate about advocating for underrepresented populations.
Cissie Liu: Never feel ashamed, never try to conform
Working in regulatory policy and economics in the U.K. energy sector, Cissie Liu also sits on the U.K.'s National Infrastructure Commission's Young Professionals Panel, where she spearheads their diversity and inclusion initiatives on infrastructure.
She grew up in Winnipeg, where her family immigrated when she was one year old, prior to pursuing her undergraduate degree in Ottawa. She misses the glorious prairie summers with her family and friends the most.
Sandra Altner: Turn anger into creativity
Sandra Altner, the CEO of the Women's Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, is a certified executive coach and a fellow of the Canadian Association of Management Consultants.
She is also a founder and board member of the Women's Enterprise Organizations of Canada, a national organization that supports initiatives serving women entrepreneurs in every region of Canada.