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Holly Ward introduces Windsor West MPP Teresa PiruzzaUWindsor chief communications officer Holly Ward introduces Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza, Ontario Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, before a roundtable discussion Tuesday on the UWindsor campus.

Still work to do in promoting women’s equality, roundtable hears

If we are to provide equality of opportunity to women in our society, girls need to learn about the range of career possibilities at a younger age.

That is the message Teresa Piruzza, Ontario Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, heard during a roundtable discussion Tuesday on the UWindsor campus.

“It’s not just about making sure girls have access to education, but that they have an awareness of the opportunities,” she said. “We have to start that exposure to different occupations at a younger age, not just during a grade five career day. It has to be a gradual thing.”

About 60 students, faculty and others gathered for the event, part of a series of Roundtables on Women’s Economic Empowerment organized across the province to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ontario Women’s Directorate.

Olivia Bauer, a marketing student at St. Clair College, said she liked the idea of extending mentoring beyond parents.

“My mother worked in a restaurant and my father in a factory, and neither of those careers appealed to me,” Bauer said. “If they had been the only role models I was exposed to, I wouldn’t have as many choices.”

Piruzza said that after 30 years, the Ontario Women’s Directorate and its efforts to promote women’s equality are still necessary.

“The reality is the bias in society is still with us,” she said. “We still have work to do.”