Equality matters. When women are treated equally and empowered they are able to fulfill their potential and help make our entire society a better place to live.
The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was observed on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, but between 1913 – 1917 women and men across Europe began to celebrate IWD around March 8 – the day we now recognize every year.
This year, the United Nations’ theme for IWD is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50:50 by 2030”. This theme focuses on how the workplace is evolving around the world, and how these changes affect women. In North America, women are underpaid for equal work and underrepresented in upper management positions. This inequality, couple with rapidly changing technology and the rise in precarious and part-time work, has a profound effect on women in the workplace.
I have personally addressed issues regarding workplace environments for women in government. On October 6, 2016, I stood in the House of Commons to advocate for a more inclusive and supportive work environment for all in Parliament and asked my peers from all parties to elevate the tone of debate – to reject the heckling and disrespectful behavior which is disproportionately targeted toward women MPs. Watch my speech here.
I was proud to stand in the House again to recognize some of the incredible women leaders from Parkdale-High Park who work at the Redwood Shelter. You can view my Member’s Statement here. I had the pleasure to meet and celebrate IWD with many of our women community leaders over coffee last week. I was also proud to recognize many of these incredible women during the #BecauseOfHer campaign last October as part of Women’s History Month.
This year, our Government is celebrating IWD with the theme Equality Matters. When we recognize that equal work deserves equal pay – regardless of gender – we all win.
As the Parliamentary Secretary for Heritage, I am proud to highlight the achievements of women and their contributions that helped shape our country, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation. As we celebrate the progress we’ve made as a country, we also recognize and rededicate ourselves to our shared goal of gender equality.
Join the conversation on social media and use the hashtag #EqualityMatters to share your stories, tell us why equality matters to you, and share myth-busters from the @Women_Canada twitter page. Visit Status of Women Canada’s website to learn how you can get involved: women.gc.ca.