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Vancouver honours first female councillor on International Women's Day

Park Board Commissioner Catherine Evans, Mayor Gregor Robertson, Councillors Hector Bremner, Andrea Reimer, Minister Harjit Sajjan, Chair of the Women’s Advisory Committee Miranda Mandarino, Councillors Adriane Carr and Melissa De Genova unveil the new Helena Gutteridge Plaza. (Courtesy City of Vancouver)

The City of Vancouver has unveiled a newly refurbished public space in honour of Helena Rose Gutteridge

Helena Gutteridge was the first female councillor in Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As the world marks International Women’s Day, Vancouver is honoring the city’s first female councillor by unveiling a newly refurbished public space in her name.

The Helena Gutteridge Plaza, located in front of Vancouver City Hall, is dedicated to the political activist by the same name.

Mayor Gregor Robertson was joined by city councillors as well as Minister Harjit Sajjan at the unveiling of the new space. “This year, I am honoured to celebrate International Women’s Day with the unveiling of the Helena Gutteridge Plaza right here at City Hall,” he said. “As the first woman elected to Vancouver’s City Council, Ms. Gutteridge was not only a trailblazer in municipal politics but a strong advocate for the rights of women across our province.”

Gutteridge was a political activist who the city says “helped shape British Columbia’s social reform legislation, fought for improved conditions for working women and advocated for equal pay.”

Vancouver’s first female councillor, Helena Gutteridge (far right) is pictured alongside colleagues. (Courtesy City of Vancouver)

In addition to marking International Women’s Day and celebrating advances made by the many women in the city’s history, Vancouver is also preparing to become the first municipality to sign a pledge developed by the Minerva Foundation. “As a city, we’ve come a long way in 80 years but we need to redouble our efforts to make Vancouver a better place to live and work for all women,” Robertson said. “We need to work harder than ever to deliver on the priority areas outlined in the recently updated Women’s Equity Strategy, and that includes ensuring women are in leadership roles, pay equity, more quality childcare and affordable housing.”

The Face of Leadership Diversity Pledge is a commitment by anyone who signs it to support women in leadership, both in the community and in the workplace.

“We are delighted that the City of Vancouver is becoming the first municipality to sign the pledge as it is a real step forward in leadership and demonstrates a top level commitment to women’s equality,” CEO Tina Strehlke with the foundation said.

Gutteridge was elected to council in 1937. She was commemorated as a national historic person by the federal government last April.