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  • March 8th is International Women's Day
    Updated On: Mar 18, 2016

    February, 2016 - March 8th is recognized around the world as International Women's Day.

    Local 258 IBEW has established a Women's Committee in late 2015 and is currently seeking members to join this group. Read more here.

    International Women's Day Background (from the Government of Canada Status of Women website):

    The idea for an International Women's Day arose around the turn of the 20th century out of a long-standing movement for women to participate equally in society.

    The first International Women's Day was observed on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. That day, more than one million women and men showed their support by participating in public events. Between 1913 and 1917, women elsewhere in Europe began to celebrate the day as well.

    Over time, International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration. The theme was expanded by the United Nations in 1975 with the International Women's Year. By 1977, the United Nations had adopted a resolution designating March 8 as International Women's Day. Today, International Women's Day is a national holiday in many countries and celebrated in many more. Following the United Nations' lead, Canada chose March 8 as International Women's Day (IWD).

    Statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on International Womens' Day:

    “On this special day, we celebrate the many achievements of women in Canada – and around the world – and we reaffirm our commitment to gender equality.

    “While we have made enormous progress towards equality over the years, we know that we still have a lot of hard work to do. Far too many women and girls continue to face injustices and discrimination.

    It is unacceptable that in 2016, women are still denied an education, forced into an early marriage, or made victims of gender-based violence. As leaders, as parents, as community members, upholding women’s rights should be – and must be – a priority for us all.

    “Canada’s theme for this year‘s International Women’s Day – Women’s Empowerment Leads to Equality – reminds us that we all benefit when women and girls have the opportunities and the resources they need to succeed.

    “We remain committed to advancing gender equality, so that Canada can become a country where all women and girls can reach their full potential.

    “Today, I encourage all Canadians to join me in celebrating International Women’s Day. I also urge you to take part in the Government of Canada #YouAreEmpowerment campaign to honour a woman who has inspired you.”

    Statement from Brother Bill Daniels, IBEW International Vice President, First District Canada on International Women's Day:

    International Women’s Day takes place today, on March 8, with many celebrations, parades and events to mark the day held over this past weekend. IWD provides an occasion to reflect on the progress we have made toward achieving fairness, equality and justice for women in Canada and across the globe. It is a time to be inspired by the change we have achieved together, and to renew our resolve to continue to work hard on the unfinished business.

    The picture for unionized women in Canada is much improved however, the facts show that women – especially those not yet represented by a union – continue to earn less than their male counterparts.  On February 3, Members of Parliament passed an NDP motion on pay equity, calling on the government to “take action to close the unacceptable gap in pay between men and women which contributes to income inequality and discriminates against women”. The motion, which was supported by all parties, with the exception of the Conservatives, called for a number of specific actions, including the implementation of the 2004 Pay Equity Task Force report and the restoration of the pay equity rights removed by the Harper government in the 2009 Public Sector Equitable Compensation Act (PSECA).

    The motion also directs the government to appoint a special committee mandated to conduct hearings and propose a plan for a proactive federal pay equity regime, “both legislative and otherwise”, with a deadline for reporting back to the House no later than June 10, 2016.

    The labour movement has long advocated for the implementation of the Pay Equity Task Force recommendations, as well as the repeal of PSECA. This represents an opportunity to move forward on the issue, but it will require coordination and quick action.

    In the coming weeks, the CLC will call a meeting of affiliates to develop a coordinated response and a plan to ensure a strong labour presence at hearings or other consultations.

    This is another step towards the fight for true equality. Please take a moment to reflect on this important day and remember the struggles of those that came before and those that continue to take up the fight today.

    IWD events taking place around British Columbia in 2016:

    Surrey: 22nd Annual International Women's Day Celebration, taking place on Saturday, March 5, 2016, from 12:30 to 4:00 pm at Queen Elizabeth Secondary, 9457 King George Blvd.
    Visit Facebook page here.
    Download poster here.

    Prince George: North Central Labour Council International Women's Day Breakfast, taking place on Saturday, March 5, 2016, from 9:00 am to noon at the Coast Inn of the North. Tickets: $25.00.
    Visit Facebook page here.

    Nanaimo: International Women's Day Event featuring appetizers, a speaker and raffle; sponsored by the Nanaimo NDP and Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council; taking place on Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm at the Nanaimo Museum. Find current information here.

    Sechelt: Sunshine Coast Labour Council Annual IWD Event "Potluck Dinner", taking place on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, from 5:00  to 9:00 pm at the Roberts Creek Hall. Entertainment includes the Knotty Dotters, Sokole, Threshold Singers and Jill Stratford. Speaker TBA. Visit website here.

    Vancouver: Vancouver & District Labour Council Women's Committee Annual IWD Dinner taking place on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at the Fraserview Hall. This year's theme: "Celebrating Women in Trades". Doors open at 5:15 pm, 6:00 pm Welcome and Dinner at 6:30 pm. Featuring speakers and entertainment. Tickets: $45 ($30 low income), call the VDLC office at 604-254-0703 or email to office@vdlc.ca.
    Download poster here.

    Recommended links to find out more about International Women's Day:

    Celebrating Women's Achievements: Government of Canada website featuring archived materials about exceptional Canadian women who have made outstanding contributions to Canadian Society and the world.

    United Nations website

    International Women's Day website

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