Minister of Health Services Colin Hansen issued the following statement to mark March 8 as International Women's Day:
"Today we mark the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day - a day to celebrate the achievements of women around the world, and honour the women who make a difference in our lives each and every day.
"I am proud to live in a province where women are an integral part of our social, political and economic successes. Our government is committed to continuing to advance the health, well-being and social status of women in all facets of our society.
"Through the Best Chance website(www.bestchance.gov.bc.ca/)
, we promote healthy living among women, expectant parents, and families. With the upcoming redevelopment of BC Women's Hospital - a specialized provincial centre of excellence dedicated to improving the health of women from all corners of the province - we are continuing to invest in women's health-care resources.
"Women in B.C. are among the healthiest in the country, with the lowest incidence and mortality rates for all cancers. Through our comprehensive screening mammography program, all women between the ages of 40 and 79 have access to free mammograms, which no doubt contributes to our high breast cancer survival rates.
"The success of women here in B.C. cannot be measured by health status alone. Women's participation in the labour force is at one of its highest points ever in B.C., with 61 per cent of women participating in the work force. Women play a key role in our economic success. Thirty-five per cent of all small businesses are owned by women. As our province continues to grow and recover after the economic downturn, I have no doubt that women will play a crucial role in our future success.
"So today, on this important day, take a moment to recognize the incredible achievements of all the women in your life. And, to our great province's women, I'd like to say thank you. Thank you for your determination and consistent drive to improve our province, through your own lives and those around you.
"While there is still significant room for improvement in the status of women around the globe, it is important to mark the successes and achievements that you have made to date. I know that the next hundred years will bring even greater achievements for all women in B.C."