Cablegate: International Women's Day - Event at Icao In

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: International Women's Day - Event at ICAO in

REF: State 047117

1. Summary: On Monday, March 8, Consul General (CG)
Bernadette Allen joined Lieutenant Governor Lise Thibault
and Transport Canada Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy
Kristine Burr in addressing the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) ambassadors, delegates and staff and
other invited guests at the celebration of International
Women's Day. Lt. Gov. Thibault is the highest ranking
woman dignitary in Quebec and the first woman ever to hold
her office. Both CG Allen and Thibault highlighted steps
needed to further improve the advancement of women. ICAO
Secretary General Cherif and ICAO Council President Kotaite

also gave brief remarks. Vice Consul Heidi Arola, post's
Federal Women's Program Coordinator, accompanied the CG and
served as notetaker for the event. End summary.

2. CG Allen's Comments: Speaking to an audience of a few
hundred ICAO delegates and staff members, CG Allen's remarks
drew on her experiences as an African-American woman and
daughter of a single mother as well as the inspiration she
has received from various women role models. And, given the
ICAO audience, Allen made special mention of the
achievements of women aviators and astronauts, including
Amelia Earhart, Canadian pilot Deanna Brasseur, Russian
cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, Canadian astronaut Julie
Payette, and Americans Mae Jamison, and Kalpana Chawla.
She specifically highlighted the accomplishments of Bessie
Coleman, the first licensed Black woman pilot who moved to
France and earned her pilot's license in 1921. Allen
emphasized that access to education is the key to opening
political and economic doors for women and noted that
education reduces the risks that women and girls face, such
as sexual exploitation, HIV-AIDS, infant mortality, and

3. Though the program moderator, ICAO Recruitment Officer
Diana Wall, stated in introductory remarks that 56 percent
of ICAO staff members are women, Secretary General Cherif
ruefully pointed out that most of the positions held by
women are administrative/clerical and that women hold only
one-fourth of the "professional" positions in ICAO. Lt.
Gov. Thibault spoke of the struggles that women face today,
trying to balance their home lives and professional lives.
She noted that while it used to be only men who had heart
attacks in their 50s, more and more women are meeting the
same fate. She emphasized that women need to start changing
their speech patterns; instead of saying "my children, my
laundry, my house." they need to say "our children, our
laundry, our house." According to Thibault, women "cannot
do and be everything," they need assistance in order to
maintain their dignity, values, and souls.

4. The ICAO Staff Association presented carnations to all
women who attended the event and sponsored a champagne
reception afterwards. Many well-wishers complimented the
CG's remarks and expressed appreciation for U.S.

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