Helga Riedel thecurrent CEO of Enwin was surprised to hear the results of a recent study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The study found that the city of Windsor rated the worst place to be a woman. Three spots below than in its previous year.
The study was written and conducted by Canadian Centre for Policy senior researcher Kate McInturff. Mclunturff’s, report analyzed 25 of the largest cities in Canada. The report provides a snapshot of the gaps in men and women’s access to economic security, personal security, education, health and positions of leadership.
Windsor’s shortcomings fall after big gaps were found in employment and high poverty rates for women. Nearly one in four women (24 per-cent) living below the Low-Income Measure.
Reidel is a windsor native, born in Leamington ON, but grew up in the Windsor Essex area. She attended the University of Windsor where she earned a business degree as well as a teaching certificate. When asked if she thought the report was accurate in its findings she stated
“ I can honestly say that I was very surprised at that article; and the findings of that study, from my perspective it was a bit of surprise because of how I described my experience”.
The study named Victoria as the best place to be a woman, for the second year in a row. The study revealed that the number of women on city council in Victoria out weight men; with 42 per-cent of elected officials overall being women.
It was found that in the city of Windsor leadership roles for women in Windsor fell way below Victoria. As stated by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives “Less than one in four elected seats are held by women and only 31% of senior management positions are held by women.” Although the employment rates for women are above the national average, it was found that men in Victoria have lower than average employment rates.
The political scene in Windsor has been male dominated for quite some time. In 1983 the first women ever elected for mayor of the city of Windsor had been Elizabeth Kishkon’s . Nearly 34 years later and there has since yet to be a female mayor representing the city of Windsor.
Currently Conc. Jo Anne Gignac is the only woman that holds a city on the 10-member city council. Mclnturff blamed Windsor’s poor rating on its lack of leadership positions for women. “Windsor places last due to its large gap in women’s representation in leadership roles, its larger than average employment gap” said McInturff.
“It was a career that had its twist and turns some sideways moves, but it was wonderful and very interesting and I am very grateful for the opportunities I had in Windsor/ Essex county. Many of those opportunities were offered to me I guess through hard work of my own” said Riedel.
Helga mentioned the difficulties she faced in her career during her child bearing years. “I Haven’t felt discrimination other than when I was taking leaves that I insisted on doing when I had my children. It was difficult to build a career during those years” said Helga. Balancing being a mom as well as a business women was a task that she found to be a difficult task just as most women do when working in a professionally demanding field.
Helga has remained positive about the future of the city of Windsor .She emphasized numerous times that to be successful depends on the person’s determination to keep striving for success. Regardless of the barriers one must overcome. Helga’s position as CEO of Enwin is testament to that.