The Canadian theme for International Women’s Day 2009 is “Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality.”
Ottawa (2 March 2009) – The United Nations adopted a resolution in 1977 calling upon its member states to proclaim a day for women’s rights and international peace known as International Women’s Day (IWD). This day symbolizes how far women around the world have come in their struggle for equality and recognizes the many challenges that remain. The United Nations theme for this year is "Women and Men: United to End Violence against Women."
Canadians celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8th each year. The Canadian theme for International Women’s Day 2009 is “Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality.”
In announcing the theme for this year, Status of Women Canada states that “the theme reflects the government’s firm belief that increasing women’s participation and access to leadership roles and opportunities will help women and girls thrive, reach their full potential and fulfill their dreams, and help build a more prosperous Canada.
While it is very true that increasing women’s participation and access to leadership roles will help women and will build a better Canada, it is hard to imagine that the Harper government actually believes it. In the past two years the Harper Conservative Government has harshly attacked Canadian women’s rights.
From eliminating funding to women’s organizations that research or advocate for equality, the removal of “equality” from the mandate of the Status of Women Canada and the elimination of the Court Challenges Program, the government has consistently moved away from women obtaining equality in this country.
And as we enter into a deepening economic crisis in Canada, once again women have been left out. The recently released federal budget did not provide any support to women who are often more deeply affected by harsh economic times. The need for a universal early childhood education and care program and the need to amend the Employment Insurance eligibility requirements (six out of 10 unemployed women can’t access benefits) have been ignored.
The government has also attacked pay equity. In a country where women earn only 71 cents for every dollar a Canadian male earns, the government has now eliminated the right of women who work in the federal government to file complaints for pay equity with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
“As we celebrate the accomplishments of women in both Canada and around the world, we must realize that these accomplishments have been achieved through hard work and perseverance. We must not allow our government to move women’s equality backwards. This country needs strong female leadership,” states James Clancy, national president of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
“More than half of the population of Canada is female, yet women are severely underrepresented in our federal, provincial and municipal governments. We need to move forward, not backwards, on women’s equality issues and ensure that Canadian women’s voices are heard at every level of government.”
In order for women to have the ability to move into positions of leadership, they need to have access to child care, elder care and support systems that enable them to balance work issues and life issues. The National Union is conducting a survey to identify the issues related to women balancing work and life issues and the stress which is incurred. The survey is directed to both union and non-union women. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey .
Addtional Information: Labour Starts: Working Women