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International Women’s Day at Museum counts down to FIFA Women’s World Cup

News release details

– International Women's Day at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) on March 8 will highlight women's rights, sports and the power of soccer to break down cultural barriers to unite us all. Canada has designated 2015 as the Year of Sport.

March 8 is the 40th anniversary of International Women's Day and also marks exactly three months until the first Winnipeg match kicks off in FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™ – the largest women's sporting event in the world. Women in sport have overcome many rights issues but continue to face challenges today. 

The Museum will host special family activities, panel discussions and speakers from the world of soccer, including Sylvie Béliveau of Canada Soccer, former head coach of the Women's National Team. Béliveau is not only a celebrated figure in national and international women's soccer, but works in Québec with Égale Action, an organization that promotes participation in sport for women of all ages.

WHAT: Special event at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights
(See program attached)

WHERE: 85 Israel Asper Way, Winnipeg

WHEN: March 8, 2015, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

"Soccer is played in almost every nation of the world, which gives it great potential to promote global awareness about equality, respect and human rights for all," said Gail Stephens, CMHR interim president and CEO. "We're pleased to partner with FIFA Women's World Cup Canada to highlight the contributions of women in sport who have worked to overcome barriers to gender equality and helped shape positive attitudes."

"Our objective with Canada 2015 has always been to leave a legacy for sport, for women and for Canada that reaches far beyond the competition," said Peter Montopoli, Chief Executive Officer of the National Organising Committee for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™. "Working with the CMHR on the 40th anniversary of International Women's Day is a perfect example of how this tournament will help to raise awareness of human rights and equality throughout the world."

To provoke thought and discussion about the Right to Play (an article of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child), one of the many family activities in the Museum on March 8 invites visitors to make soccer balls out of plastic bags. This hands-on activity is inspired by a story featured in the Museum about young people in parts of Africa who can't afford sports equipment, so scour garbage dumps for plastic bags and string to transform trash into soccer balls.

Visitors can also find powerful stories about women's rights and female human right defenders located throughout the Museum's galleries. Regular admission fees apply for Museum gallery access. There is no charge for the activities in Bonnie & John Buhler Hall or the panel discussions in the Manitoba Teachers' Society Classrooms. Seating for the panel sessions is limited. 

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights. Using multimedia technology and other innovative approaches, the CMHR creates inspiring encounters with human rights for all ages, in a visitor experience unlike any other. 



Program for International Women's Day at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, with FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™

Bonnie & John Buhler Hall

12 p.m. – Greetings from Museum interim President & CEO Gail Stephens and FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™.

12: 15 p.m. – Keynote address by Sylvie Béliveau, Canada Soccer Long Term Player Development Manager and former Women's National Team head coach, followed by Q&A.

12:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. – The right to play! Family activities include making plastic-bag soccer balls (with a link to a human rights story told in the Museum), mini soccer, photos with Shuéme, the Official Mascot for the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015™, DJ music, photo booth, giveaways and in-gallery activities.

Manitoba Teachers' Society Classrooms

1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Panel discussions on women's rights, sports and soccer, emceed by Men's U-20 National Team coach Rob Gale. Limited seating.

  • 1:30 pm – Session 1 (French). Understanding the history of the FIFA Women's World Cup and how far the event has evolved since the first one was held 24 years ago. This discussion features Sylvie Béliveau, who was head coach for the first Canadian women's team to play in the FIFA World Cup in 1995.
  • 2:30 p.m. – Session 2 (English). The Right to Play and generational progress for women in soccer, including accessibility to fields of play and training resources. This discussion includes former Manitoba Soccer Association president Christine O'Connor and female soccer players from Winnipeg.
  • 3:30 p.m. – Session 3 (English). Stories across the divide: how international soccer breaks down cultural barriers and brings people together to create unity and celebrate diversity.

Media contacts

Maureen Fitzhenry