International Women’s Day

March 8, 2019 - On International Women’s Day, organizations and governments around the globe denounce gender inequalities and typically make promises to challenge the gender pay gap. What if a few years from now, on International Women’s Day, we were finally celebrating gender parity, respect and inclusivity?

“The responsibility to advocate for women’s rights and to take action on a daily basis belongs to each and every one of us,” said Isabelle Miller, National President of USW Local 1944. “Has your coworker been harassed in the workplace because of her gender? Stand up for her. Make sure your provincial government keeps women’s rights issues at the forefront, particularly on issues of wage disparity. It is our shared civic and moral responsibility to take to the streets and participate in demonstrations or marches when citizens call on the federal government to pass pay equity laws. Maybe you feel like volunteering but you can’t decide how? Donate your time to a women’s shelter or to a call centre that assists women. Ultimately, it is through each of our respective actions that we will be able to defend and enhance women’s rights in the workplace, in the home and in our communities.”

“Women in Canada are still fighting for basic protections, struggling to access equality, and maybe most importantly, for respect,” said Donna Hokiro, Vice-President of USW Local 1944. “Why is it that women still have to break barriers just to be able to actively participate in social work or politics? Why is it that gender discrimination is still so prominent in our country? Why is it that some of our governments’ decisions still fall flat in the fight against gender-based violence? If we do nothing, we are accomplices of these injustices. Let’s commit to working for change until safety becomes a reality for all women. I ask our members to join our Local in the struggle.”

Here are some of the struggles that we face today:

  • Domestic violence affects our workplaces’ safety and productivity. Every 60 hours, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner, while many of our female USW members experience increasing levels of violence and oppression in the workplace. In Ontario, Doug Ford’s government allows the rolling back on women’s rights by eliminating and underfunding programs that save the lives of women and girls.
  • Equal pay would lift millions of women out of poverty, and create a tremendous economic growth by giving millions of working women more money to spend. Yet, at this time, the gender pay gap carries a high human and economic cost, and the disparity is even higher for women who are racialized.
  • The number of missing, murdered and Indigenous women and girls continues to grow, and justice continues to be delayed. We must advocate for justice and rehabilitation for Indigenous women and girls, and for child welfare.

What are other tools available for you to help effect change?

Find International Women’s Day events in your community.

On Women’s International Day as on any other day, let’s all take part in the fight for gender balance and safety for all women.

In Solidarity,

USW Local 1944