March 8 marks International Women’s Day and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees will celebrate tonight by presenting its Day of Validation and Equity (DOVE) award to Ramza Gebran, a long-time union activist from Calgary.

AUPE’s DOVE award recognizes a woman in the union who advocates for the betterment of women’s lives within the labour movement.

Gebran has been an AUPE member since 2008, filling multiple activist and leadership roles, including Steward, Chapter and Local Chair, and Council Representative. A strong advocate of member education, Gebran motivates her fellow workers, especially women, to voice their concerns and effect change for the membership as a whole.

“Women’s issues are diverse and rarely separate from other progressive causes,” said AUPE Vice-President and Chair of the union’s Women’s Committee Susan Slade. “AUPE is proud to represent so many working women like Ramza who advocate for their sisters’ rights along with other issues close to workers’ hearts.

“International Women’s Day is an important reminder of all the discriminations women face in the workplace and their day-to-day lives,” adds Slade. “The day also gives us a chance to reflect on how women can advance themselves through solidarity and mobilization.”

First proposed in Copenhagen at a conference of over 100 women representing unions and other labour groups, IWD has strong ties to the workers’ movement.

“International Women’s Day is not exclusive to any group, in partnership with one country, or owned by an organization. It has a life of its own, pushed forward by the people it serves, in the direction they decide,” Slade said.

“That’s why it’s important we work together on March 8 to make our activities inclusive of all women’s voices, so we can truly achieve the equality for which IWD aims,” said Slade.

This year, women’s economic advancement is the focus of IWD. Everyone is asked to show their support by taking part in the #PressForProgress social media campaign, which emphasizes the need for expanding women’s capacity to survive and thrive in the global economy.