Today (March 8) is International Women's Day, a day for people in Airdrie, Alberta, Canada and all over the world to celebrate the many achievements and accomplishments of women and to find ways to raise awareness to combat bias in the world.  

The theme of International Women's Day 2019 is #BalanceforBetter.  The thought being that a balanced world is a better world. How can you help forge a more gender-balanced world and take action for equality?

For women who have gone into business for themselves, balance is a very important issue says Melissa Bentley, the President of the Airdrie Women In Business Association (AWBA).  Trying to find a balance between your personal and business life can be challenging.  Another challenging aspect that women thinking of going into business for themselves must overcome is, according to Bentley, the lack of confidence that seems to be inherent in women.

"Us women, we're very critical of ourselves, we're our own worst enemies.  I think, a lot of the time, we hesitate when we want to take that leap.  So just trying to overcome that fear and build up your confidence is one of the biggest things.  I think once we actually take that first step it's a matter of, 'okay, where do I go from here.'"  

Women who are in business for themselves can then help other women who are looking for work, says Bentley.  Although she says she doesn't think there's a bias to that end, women naturally look to their friends and others in their support network when they consider who to hire.

"As you build up your network and you do feel comfortable with other women that you're working with or you befriended, you automatically think of them first when you think of 'oh, this person would be great to work with' or 'I know this person is looking for work.'  I don't think there's necessarily a bias that women want to work with other women, it's just kind of whoever's in our support network, those are the ones who we go to first."

Bentley says women who are considering going into business for themselves have a wonderful place in the City of Airdrie to take the leap.  "In all my years of doing business in Airdrie, I've been in business here for over seven years now and I've been a resident here for 15 years.  In all of my years, I can say that Airdrie is one of the best places to do business, especially for women because there is that support network out there.  The biggest struggle is finding that support network, but as soon as you find it and you engage with other women and you network and engage in those relationships.  When a woman builds another woman up, amazing things can happen."

Tonight from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, AWBA is hosting an International Women's Day event at Fitzsimmons Brewery.  The night is just for AWBA members, new or old.  You can sign up or renew your membership at the door and receive 25 percent off.  Door prizes and lots of opportunity for business women to network with one another will also be available.

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