Amid the drumming and chants from a megaphone, a group of young Guelph residents quietly stood in a crowd in Market Square making an even louder statement about International Women's Day with their signs.

Grade six student Emily Gyuran held up one reading "No more gender stereotypes."

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Break the Bias.” It’s something Gyuran and her friends believe is possible.

"It's really great to have people who are young believing that when they grow up," said Gyuran.

At the march in Guelph, the group celebrated advances in gender equality. But advocates recognize more needs to be done to include all genders.

"Women still aren't earning equal pay, still don't have access to the same rights as men do," said Jensen Williams, a public educator at Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis. "It's also trans, non-binary, and two-spirit folks who are impacted negatively."

Over in Waterloo Region, women business leaders agree companies must to better.

"Women are still very under-represented on boards, in business, in executive positions," Louis Norris, CFO and COO of SSIMWAVE Inc., told CTV News. "They're the ones that can really drive success, and create a work environment that people want to be part of."

Meanwhile, Karen Redman, the chair of Waterloo Region, hopes the next regional council has more diversity and women.

However, today she is celebrating key roles they've played to help the community combat COVID-19.

"What the pandemic exposed is how many incredibly competent female leaders we have," said Redman.

Back in Guelph, Gyuran and the group she is with are thankful for the role models who organized the march.

"It makes me feel really happy that a lot of other people feel this way and have the bravery to come and talk to our whole community about this," Gyuran said.