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Calgary’s women councillors reflect on International Women’s Day

Calgary currently has one of the highest numbers of female councillors in the city’s history, plus its first female mayor.

These women – Couns. Sonya Sharp, Jennifer Wyness, Jasmine Mian, Kourtney Penner and Mayor Jyoti Gondek – shared their thoughts on International Women’s Day to open Tuesday’s public hearing meeting of council.

Here’s what they had to say:

Ward 1 – Sonya Sharp

Sharp said International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate her peers, friends and all women that have challenged or broken barriers.

“Remember finding your voice is important. And my message this year women is to speak up. Your voice needs to be heard. You’re as valuable as any others in this corporation, and any corporation, in any business, as an entrepreneur or owner. Support each other.”

Ward 2 – Jennifer Wyness

Wyness said this group of women councillors is still overcoming barriers even though it’s 2023.

“I’m just happy to be one of the few women that have made it to this seat and throwing sticks into the political conversation.”

Ward 3 – Jasmine Mian

Mian said it was a pleasure to be serving alongside the other female councillors and the mayor, plus the many female managers at the City of Calgary. The organization has made significant strides, she said.

There’s work to do, she said. Canada ranks 25th on the global gender gap index.

“Even though we have representation in certain positions of power, that doesn’t mean there’s gender equity everywhere.”

Ward 11 – Kourtney Penner

Penner said she had mixed feelings about International Women’s Day – given that they’re asked to show up with glowing achievements, but behind the scene still wrangling kids, finding daycare, or providing care to others. 

She said it was important to challenge the definition of what it means to be an “effective woman.”

“We need to, ourselves, challenge the narrative around how we continue to welcome and include women of all ages and stages in their lives into the conversations.”

“For me, when we talk about women in our city and when we talk about girls in our city, it’s about how do we provide space and opportunity for them to have full inclusive lives.”

Mayor Jyoti Gondek

Mayor Gondek praised the work of her follow council members, administration, but also community members in leadership positions at the Chamber of Commerce, the Calgary Public Library, the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, the YMCA and more.

“Thank you to all the women who are doing their absolute best to make the city a great one.”