Celebrate Women’s Strength and Determination on International Women’s Day

Romania, 1892 – Fanny and Harry became engaged.  It was an arranged marriage; the couple barely knew each other.  Fanny had no power, was given no say to her fate, how her life would be lived. For in those times, it would have been unthinkable to go against her family, her culture, with no education, no role models, few skills, and to refuse the marriage. Fanny’s parents gave a handsome dowry totaling $5,000 in furniture, a trousseau, jewelry and cash to Harry to seal their forthcoming marriage.

Fanny (my Grandmother) wearing a gown she made in the 1800s

Fanny and Harry marry, have two children and immigrate to Canada in 1898. They came to Canada as part of a resettling program, financed by a philanthropist who brought families out of Europe who faced persecution in their various European countries. They were plunked down in the middle of Saskatchewan with very little.  It was a hard life for Fanny, a city girl, an aspiring dress designer. There were few gowns to be designed during those harsh times on the prairies. The first year the Métis Indians taught the family how to build an underground home – literally a hole in the ground. Later, the Métis helped them build their log cabin to survive the brutal prairies winter. Four more children are born on the prairies; the last is Dora, born in 1910.

Somewhere in Dora’s genes she must have known that in that very same year of her birth the seeds for International Women’s Day were planted. In that year, 1910, a Woman’s Day is established in 17 countries to honour the movement for women’s rights and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women.

Doris (my Mother) with MPP Robert Caplan

True to that form, Dora is a rebel, through and through. Feeling her name is too old fashioned, she changes it to Doris. Doris is a tom boy; plays baseball, wins trophies for playing tennis, rides a bike, plays musical instruments, sometimes tells off colour jokes, and even tries smoking.  A crackerjack typist, at 14 years of age, she’s hired by Simpsons, a large department store. She marries at 29, considered very old in those days and has two children. Today, I dedicate International Women’s Day to Doris, my mother, whom I’m sure is watching down over me today.

For all the terrific men who support this day, we love you.  I’m happy for the participation of the men in my family who in many ways supported me – a loving husband and a supportive son, son-in-law, father and brother and many uncles and cousins. I was also fortunate to have the love and support of a wonderful mother, terrific daughter and granddaughter. We all need each other. The following is a quote from male author and activist, Francis Marion Beynon, who in 1913 said: “Fortunately, there are thousands of four-square men in this country who value their wives and their work at their real worth and who are glad to have them as partners and comrades in the highest sense of the word.  We must not forget this fact when our blood boils up at the attitude of the unfair ones.”

Around the world, this week has been designated to celebrate women.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the progress made to advance women’s equality, to assess the challenges facing women in contemporary society and to consider future steps to enhance women’s quality of life.

It’s the story of ordinary women as makers of history.  It is rooted in the centuries old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. The theme of the day has become bread and roses, representing the struggle not only to better the material position of women, but to create a qualitatively different life, in which all people can be free in every way.

I strive to continue my mother’s example and know what a woman can accomplish. I hope my life and my work – originally in music for children, then as a health and wellness consultant, stress-relief speaker/author and registered holistic nutritionist can in some way be a beacon to other women to accept with pride their womanhood. I hope for all those younger women, you can continue that delicate balance of satisfying your personal potential, yet still be available for others. As a former, “frazzled, hurried woman”, I know it isn’t easy. It’s okay to reach out to other women for help – a shoulder to lean on in times of crises, and for fun! Women can help other women build strength by giving support and boosting morale.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s reach out to women of all races and creeds. For me, that’s the best this day can offer.



ROSALIE MOSCOE, Registered Nutritional Consultant Practitioner and motivational speaker, is an established author and former instructor of college-level courses in stress management. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, she also provides one-to-one nutritional consulting and avidly promotes stress-relief and boosted nutrition for optimum well-being. Rosalie is the author of the Amazon bestselling book, Frazzled Hurried Woman! Your Stress Relief Guide to Thriving…Not Merely Surviving, also available in ebook formats. Her keynote presentations, knowledge, caring and experience make her the perfect mentor for your journey back to harmonious living.