• Mar. 7, 2024
  • Life at Exponentiel
  • Written by: Exponentiel

Exponentielles Perspectives: Views on International Women’s Day

Demands to improve the status of women are not new. There are reports of actions going back more than 165 years. On March 8, 1857, textile and garment workers in New York City demonstrated against 12-hour workdays, low wages and poor working conditions. As the movement grew geographically, issues such as gender equality, violence against women and reproductive rights became the central tenets of the movement. International Women’s Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977.

Conditions for women have certainly improved in the last century, as some may question if this Day is still even necessary. We asked three members of the Exponentiel tribe, each representing a different generation and different reality, the question: In 2024, what does International Women’s Day mean for you?

Here is what they had to say…

Lysa-Marie Rochon


Currently completing a Master’s degree in Management - Marketing at HEC Montréal

I had the privilege of growing up in an environment where all options seemed available. My parents always taught me that the only limit to my aspirations was myself. Surrounded by inspiring women who were strong role models, I could never have imagined, as a young girl, that women could be considered inferior to men. The very idea seemed absurd to me, despite the stories of the incredible journeys that women before me had made.

But over time, a growing frustration set in. Why doesn't my voice count as much as that of my male colleagues? Why am I paid less than my male counterparts for equivalent work? Why do women face more obstacles in gaining access to senior management positions? Why have women's bodies become the subject of political debate? Why are harassment, degrading comments and inappropriate behaviour towards women still so commonplace, downplayed and ignored in today's society?

These questions, and many others, quickly made me realize that reality was not quite so rosy. That's why I believe that International Women's Day should be seen as a reminder of the importance of lifting each other up. Let's stand together, let's be confident, let's be proud - Girl Power is a real thing.

Furthermore, it's crucial to recognize that the struggle for women's rights also resonates with the struggles of other marginalized groups. For me, the key lies in collaboration and mutual support between these movements. It's by working together that we can create a truly just and equitable world.

Learn more about Lysa-Marie on LinkedIn

Tamara Chiasson


For me, March 8 is a rendezvous with the passage of time…

A rendezvous with history that reminds us that, all too recently, it was difficult, even illegal, for women to take their place in certain spheres of society. It's thanks to feminist revolutions, broken glass ceilings and uninhibited audacity that women have been able to sit at the same table as men, control their own destiny and, in particular, have the right to vote for as little as 84 years now, here in Quebec.

It's also a rendezvous with the present, which bears witness to the progress we've made and the road we still have to travel, and to the wealth we all benefit from by combining opportunities for both men and women. But it also testifies to Western privilege, which carries with it a powerful responsibility not to forget the millions of women around the world for whom the notion of "right" is virtually non-existent or flouted daily.

And, of course, a rendezvous with the future that is ours to shape. With the hope that for our children and future generations, the fight for equality will give way to mutual recognition. But also so that one day, at last, the word feminism will be universally recognized as its definition indicates: a principle of justice and equality.

So here we are, at this rendezvous, celebrated every year, and still necessary. Mind you, I don't believe that these "International Days" will change things, that they will bring significant advancements or that social paradigms and norms will be transformed. But it is thanks to these days that every year a part of society rallies together, unites and puts women in the spotlight, with the aim of marking the change, the evolution of our values over the last few years. This celebration of women and the progress they have made is eagerly awaited, even if – let’s face it - it is sometimes instrumentalized. But why stop if the wage gap, equal opportunities, socio-economic equity and security, parental responsibilities and many other aspects are still so disproportionate between men and women. Let's remember that it's in the present that the future is shaped.

Thank you to those who have come before me, to those who push me to see so far ahead that I forget about the glass ceiling, and to those who will shape the egalitarian future of our dreams.

Learn more about Tamara on LinkedIn

Nancy Bouffard

Vice President

I was born at the end of the '60s, a decade marked by several events of global importance. Think of 1969, when the first man walked on the moon. Quebec was undergoing the Quiet Revolution, a pivotal period that led to many advances for women, even before International Women's Day as we know it was formalized by the United Nations in 1977.

It's easy to forget, but it was during the Quiet Revolution that Quebec women first adopted the contraceptive pill to control their fertility, entered the workforce in droves, and demanded maternity leave and the right to equality with men in all spheres of public life.

Too young to have been aware of the battles women had fought to advance our cause, I remain extremely grateful for the commitment of the women of the time, which has enabled our generations to aspire to an equality that was once utterly utopian. Coming from a family of strong women, including shopkeepers, writers and politicians, I was surrounded by inspiring role models as I made my way through life. Thanks to them, I had the choice. A precious choice... and one that, unfortunately, remains very fragile.

As the mother of a young woman in her twenties, it is with concern that I observe an intensification of regressive movements targeting women. Think of the anti-abortion laws that are resurfacing right on our doorstep, the increase in violence against women and girls in armed conflicts, the rise of conservative religions that discriminate against women and deepen inequalities, and so on.

One might ask: do we still need an International Women's Day in 2024? My humble answer is yes! My collective hope is that the generations of women who follow us will also still have a choice!

Learn more about Nancy on LinkedIn

Curious to learn more on Lysa-Marie, Tamara and Nancy? Check out their bios and follow them on social media.