“Only by standing side by side, not only on International Women’s Day, but every day, can we improve the lives of women in Canada and around the world.” —Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer
Ottawa (08 March 2019) — International Women's Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The first IWD occurred in 1911 and was supported by over one million people.
Commonalities bring women together
The theme for IWD 2019 is #BalanceforBetter. The campaign focuses on gender balance as an essential element for thriving economies and communities. The idea of gender balance is something the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has been advocating for years. More recently, NUPGE has begun to tackle the issue of perceived divisions between young and established workers.
The media regularly promotes the idea that there is an unbridgeable divide between generations. Through the work of the National Union, we know this is not accurate.
A recent survey of women in our union reveals that women — across generations — care about many of the same issues. Work/life balance, affordable housing, mental health, precarious work, technological change, pensions, pay equity, and climate change were issues identified by participants in all age groups.
By concentrating on this common ground, we can advance justice and equality in all areas of women’s lives. Working together, we can build the solidarity we need to support each other.
Solidarity and support, in Canada, around the world
We are facing challenges around the world and in our own backyards. In Canada, women still make 32 percent less than men, and the gap grows wider for racialized women and women with disabilities. Women are still struggling to have gender-based violence recognized as a social issue. Indigenous women and girls are still going missing and are murdered at a disproportionately higher rate than the rest of women across the country.
In Myanmar, Rohingya women are living in refugee camps after fleeing the targeted, sexual violence by the military that is part of the overall goal of ethnic cleansing and genocide. They are fighting to have these crimes recognized by the international community and the perpetrators brought to justice.
In every struggle, we can work with, support, and advocate for women’s equality. Whether across borders or here at home, our commonality binds us more than our differences. Now, more than ever, women from all backgrounds and generations need to come together to rid the world of injustice and inequality.
“Only by standing side by side, not only on International Women’s Day, but every day, can we improve the lives of women in Canada and around the world,” said Ballermann.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE