Five women in New Brunswick have been honoured with the inaugural Minister's Award for Excellence in Championing Gender Equality.
The VIVE awards, created to promote gender equality in workplaces, daily life and in government, recognize those who are forging paths and advancing gender equality, the province stated in announcing the winners.
“Women are our pride, our hope, our future, and the recovery that will carry us through this pandemic,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace, who is also the minister responsible for women’s equality. “We are thrilled to spotlight some of New Brunswick’s outstanding unsung heroes.”
The winners were named in five categories: Community, Youth, Business, Everyday and Government.
This year’s winners are:
• Community Champion: Johanne Perron of Moncton is the longtime executive director of the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity. She has inspired generations of women to fight for their rights and others to follow suit and pursue a career in the non-profit and community sector, the province stated. She regularly brings the voices of women and advocates to government.
• Business Champion: Sara Holyoke of Fredericton is the general manager of the Delta Fredericton. She has been a champion of helping women rise in field where men generally dominate in leadership roles, often taking on formal and informal mentorship roles in the industry, the province stated in the release. Her team now includes 50 per cent executive team members who are female, a 64 per cent female management team and 55 per cent of leadership development program graduates are female.
• Everyday Champion: Karen Pearlston is a law professor in Fredericton at the University of New Brunswick with a long history of social justice activism, in particular, reproductive justice issues, the province stated. In collaboration with Reproductive Justice New Brunswick, Pearlston coordinates reproductive justice awareness building and education campaigns throughout the province, including online during COVID-19. Pearlston has advocated to save Clinic 554 and access to health care for all who face barriers.
• Government Champion: Cheryl Hansen of Fredericton is the province’s top civil servant and oversees the provincial civil service as clerk of the executive council, the province stated. Hansen previously served as a deputy minister of the Treasury Board and other leadership roles within the public service. During the pandemic she led the civil service as it pivoted to primarily working from home, while ensuring the public was served.
• Youth champion: Emma Coakle of Saint John. Born missing her right hand, she is a member of the War Amps CHAMP Program and through her volunteer work is working to end bullying and discrimination, the province stated.
Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal