2017 IW Winners

Essay Scholarship - Thunder Bay

Peyton Harris

Peyton Harris

At 17 years of age, Peyton Harris has witnessed some dramatic leaps in the evolution of women in society, from being cast solely in the traditional role of family nurturers to becoming highly educated breadwinners.

In her essay, “The Evolution of Women,” Harris chronicles how women are making gradual gains in claiming leadership roles, beginning with her mother who ascended from a “lower class working mom” to bank teller to holding a management position at a credit union.

“Witnessing someone so close to me come into this new role that was made for them since day one is eye opening and very inspirational.”

The fourth-year honour roll graduate at Saint Ignatius Secondary School in Thunder Bay has set her sights on attending Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Seeking higher education in post-secondary schooling “sets females up for success further in life when looking for careers,” Harris writes.

Beyond just petitioning for pay equity, Harris says events in recent months where women have taken to the streets in protest over the possible revocation of hardfought abortion laws “demonstrates that women still need to work for their rights.”

In the family home, Harris finds it refreshing that men and women are more equally sharing the daily chores both inside and outside the household.

On the athletic field, Harris observes young women muscling their way into sports, such as rugby, lacrosse and football, which were thought to be off-limits, and earning a new level of competitive respect.

Harris finds more young women are seeking their independence by travelling further afield to attend university.

“This is the case for myself,” she writes. “This year, I realized that I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself and will be leaving, not only my hometown but my home province, as well, for university.

“Through doing this, I am partaking in this new development of female empowerment and self-reliance.”

Harris finds affirmation in the emergence and confidence shown by the LGBTQ community, which increasingly proves that two mothers can raise a family.

“Witnessing the roles of women evolve is inspiring the younger generations to realize their full potential and go out into the world as independent people in society.”

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