International Women’s Day has long been a day to celebrate, reflect, and work to change the inequality experienced by women in Canada and around the world. Although the United Nations recognized March 8 as International Women’s Day in 1975, the day has been celebrated for over 100 years. Unions have a played a key role in this celebration and in resistance to gender bias and discrimination.
In 2021 International Women’s Day takes on increased significance. The pandemic has spotlighted the extent to which women bear the world on their shoulders. It has had immensely disproportionate impacts on women, and especially on women who experience the world with intersecting identities. Women have suffered increased loss of economic opportunities, increased intimate partner violence, and increased unpaid care work during this pandemic. And for women who are racialized, members of the LGBTQ2+ community, have disabilities, or experience other forms of oppression the impacts have been even greater.
The United Nations found, in their April 2020 Policy Brief The Impact of COVID-19 on Women, “Across every sphere, from health to the economy, security to social protection, the impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls simply by virtue of their sex”.
Sherry Hillier, President of CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador, says that “Women must be prioritized as we discuss recovery from this pandemic. We must put an end to violence against women and sexual harassment and assault. We must fix the childcare crisis now and we must finally put an end to wage discrimination. I encourage all CUPE Newfoundland and Labrador members to participate in the Canadian Labour Congress IWD Campaign, #WeAreTheRecovery, by using the Facebook and Twitter infographics which you can find here: clcctc.ca/communications/IWDSocial/IWDSharegraphics.pdf
Or consider writing a letter to the editor about childcare using the tool provided here: canadianplan.ca/iwd-child-care/”
But don’t stop there! Go to cupe.ca/event/international-womens-day for more ideas and information about International Women’s Day. Also visit the Canadian Labour Congress’ gender equality page at canadianlabour.ca/issues/gender-equality/.