By Yvonne Sam
We celebrate the various ways that women have advanced in various careers and roles as independent, autonomous persons with the ability to strive toward their full potential.
We also celebrate the creative and innovative ways in which women are successfully contributing to the global community.
Since the establishment of International Women’s Day in 1914, the equality of women today, has been much more fully realized. The World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap would not close entirely until 2186. Sad but true, this is far too long a wait. In fact the duration is mind boggling to say the least.
Gender equality nevertheless still exists in Canada and around the world; women are still struggling for equality with men.
Women are still much more likely to be the victim of all types of violence; to suffer having their labour valued less than that of the men; to assume the major responsibility for household tasks and care-giving; and be dismally underrepresented in political and corporate leadership.
Throughout the Diaspora, International Women’s Day can serve as an important and influential impetus and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity.
The fact that some women are thriving is clear, nevertheless the progress of a few does not, in any way, invalidate the suffering of the many. To quote Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”
Research, undertaken by the Native Women’s Association, has indicated that Aboriginal women and girls are three times more likely than other Canadian women to be victims of violence. Strange but true, while Indigenous women make up 4.3% of Canadian women population, yet they constitute 16% of murdered women.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, federal, provincial and territorial ministers, Inuit, Metis, leaders of First Nations, families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls made a commitment, at a recent roundtable, to ongoing urgent and harmonized action, geared at addressing and preventing violence against Indigenous women and girls, and to further continue this work during the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
Women throughout Canada must unite in ensuring that much more follow the roundtable. Actions must be based in the experiences and wisdom of Indigenous women and their families.
The struggle must continue to be waged until all women are recognized as equal citizens the world over.
This is a call for all women to unite and continue to act, advocate and agitate in order to achieve this sought-after goal. After all, women are the masters of multi-tasking.