A marathon, not a sprint

photo courtesy : Johanna Ziegler, Merrick Preparatory School

by Renee Moores,
Interim Executive Director & Shelter Manager
Naomi’s Family Resource Centre

International Women’s Day is March 8, 2023 and after the covid hiatus, Naomi’s Family Resource Centre is delighted to return to hosting a luncheon to celebrate women in our beloved community.

Sisters, Stacey and Wendy Weagant, agreed to be the guest speakers at this year’s luncheon held at St. Clare’s Anglican Church. While at the time of this article submission the event had not taken place, we are fortunate to have such remarkable women share their perspectives as women rooted in our rural community who are smart, funny, and successful in their personal and professional endeavours, and to share their experiences on the topic of unconventional motherhood.

In keeping with the history theme highlighted in last month’s edition of the North Dundas Times, I suspect the early settlers in North Dundas like the Armstrong and Hemmell families (to name a few, but there are many more) and their subsequent successes were enhanced by the women who contributed by means of domestic labour. A theme that still holds true for many women today.

As time has progressed, so have women and their circumstances. We would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to mention a sampling of female trailblazers…such as in 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft in her advocacy efforts and book release for women’s right to education equality; in 1932, Marlene Dietrich for the ‘pant suit’; in 1949, Simone de Beauvoir for her protest in the name of feminism; in the 1970’s, Gloria Steinem for the Women’s Liberation Movement; and in 2006, Tarana Burke who started the #MeTooMovement. The dedication and energy expended on ‘the good fights’ for ‘the good reasons’ are commendable and inspiring and lend momentum to raising awareness of women’s issues today.

Women’s leadership is evolving and progressing in dynamic ways in: paid professions, caregiving (both young and old), household affairs, educational programs, community groups and volunteering, and in outdoor/leisure activities. While this important progress is happening, its results are women organizing their work in different ways. The inception of cooperative daycares in 1916 by University of Chicago faculty wives so they could arrange child raising responsibilities to perform volunteer work is one example of many.

The leadership experiences of the above mentioned and many more successful women can be found by asking the ladies working at the Winchester Branch of the SDG Library. I would like to believe that over 200 years later, Wollstonecraft would be delighted by this. It was through the library’s book club recommendations that I stumbled across a new found favourite author, Penny Reid, who writes “Don’t set yourself on fire trying to keep others warm.” For myself, this message of self preservation is a reminder that my successes as a woman will come in a marathon format, not a sprint. I believe that many women, of all ages, can relate to this and perhaps have some wisdom to share on the matter. 

We take March 8 to recognize that many of these successes would not occur without relationships, which women are stellar at organizing with a starting seed of good will. Relationships grow to communities. Communities grow to villages. Villages in which to raise…not just children, but everyone.

Naomi’s Family Resource Centre is a nine bed emergency shelter for women ages 16 and older (with or without children) who are fleeing domestic violence.  If you, or someone you know, is considering help, please call our 24/7 crisis line at 613.774.2838 or email staff@naomiscentre.com for information and help. Our operations are funded by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and the generous donations received by the community are used to directly support the residents who stay here.


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