For Immediate Release

March 3, 2022

District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board recognizes International Women’s Day

Parry Sound, ON – Imagine a gender equal society free of discrimination, bias, and stereotypes. Globally, March 8th is International Women’s Day 2022, a day to honor women and girls worldwide and to recognize those who have led efforts for gender equality.

Locally, the District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board (DSSAB) recognizes the progress that’s been made, and the work still needed to #BreakTheBias. As the operator of Esprit Place Family Resource Centre, the local Violence Against Women (VAW) shelter and provider of domestic abuse support programs in the District of Parry Sound, the DSSAB works tirelessly to improve the well being of women and their families, and advocate for gender equity.

“Violence against women is caused by gender inequality and leads to further inequality by impeding a woman’s ability to participate in society and achieve her full potential,” said Sharon Davis, Manager of Housing Operations for the DSSAB.

In 2021, Esprit staff provided 1,267 hours of direct service to women through shelter and counselling services.  During this time, 47 women and 18 children were served through unique stays in the shelter, 271 women and children were served through Esprit’s Outreach and Children’s Voices programs, and 83 women were supported through the Transitional and Housing Support Program. By providing safety, supportive counselling, housing, and life stabilization supports, Esprit Place Family Resource Centre is empowering women to transition from crisis to stability, rebuilding their lives after trauma and abuse.

 “Issues around gender inequality can impact a woman’s ability to leave an abusive relationship,” continued Ms. Davis. “We can help advocate for gender equity by challenging gender stereotypes at home, and within our social circles. In the workplace, we can advocate towards supportive and fair policies, actively encourage more women into the workforce, and foster women in leadership roles.”

Today, women fill 95% of all positions at the DSSAB, including strong representation on their Leadership Team. Women have also been well represented on DSSAB’s Board of Directors over the years. Until recently, the Board of Directors included 5 female members, and recently accepted the resignation of long serving member of Barb Marlow in the fall of 2021 after 30 years of valuable guidance and leadership to the organization.

“I’m proud to represent an organization which clearly values the contributions and aspirations of women and has a strong history of supporting women in leadership positions,” said Tammy MacKenzie, Chief Administrative Officer. “As one of the largest employers in the District, the DSSAB is committed to building a supportive workplace that encourages a culture of diversity and inclusion and actively seeks to employ people of all backgrounds, including women, people with disabilities, and those from Indigenous, racialized, BIPOC, and LGBTQ2S+ communities. International Women’s Day should celebrate the diversity of women, and must be inclusive of all identities.”

This International Women’s Day, #BreakTheBias and be part of the change you want to see.


For more information, please contact:
JJ Blower
Communications Officer 
(705) 746-7777 ext. 5264

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