International Women's Day reminds Canadians of gains made and continued barriers | National Union of Public and General Employees

International Women's Day reminds Canadians of gains made and continued barriers

“I am proud of the work my union and the labour movement as a whole has done for women’s rights.  Working together with our allies we have truly made major gains for women’s equality,” said James Clancy, NUPGE's National President.  “As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s join together to end violence against women and better help the victims."

Ottawa (6 Mar. 2014) - March 8th is International Women’s Day.  It is a day for people and organizations around the world to celebrate the incredible achievements and gains made by women throughout the years. 

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is celebrating the accomplishments of women and further committing itself to the struggle for full equality.

“I am proud of the work my union and the labour movement as a whole has done for women’s rights.  Working together with our allies we have truly made major gains for women’s equality,” said James Clancy, NUPGE's National President.

Women's movement has changed all aspects of society

Joining together to make their voices heard, women have fought for the right to vote, for political participation at all levels of government and civil society.

Within their unions women have been at the forefront in fighting for pay equity, maternity/paternity rights, and family-friendly policies. 

They continue to work with their allies and coalition partners to fight for a national child care policy in this country.

Violence against women must end

As we take time to celebrate these achievements, we must also reflect on the barriers that women continue to face.  One of the major issues facing women around the world and here in Canada is violence.

  • Half of Canadian women will experience at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • The situation for Aboriginal women and girls is even more frightening.  Recent reports indicate that over 800 Aboriginal women and girls have gone missing or have been murdered in the last few decades.  Between 1997 and 2000, homicide rates of Aboriginal females were almost seven times higher than those of non-Aboriginal females.
  • Domestic violence has devastating effects emotionally, physically and financially on women and their children.  Most often they turn to shelters and transition houses for help. The Canadian Network of Women’s Shelters and Transition Houses released a pan Canadian survey on the state of emergency shelters in Canada.  SHELTER VOICES shows that on one day, 252 shelters in Canada helped 4,178 women and 2,490 children.

Impact of domestic violence felt throughout society

Domestic violence not only affects the victims but also those front-line workers who are struggling to assist with a lack of government funding and serious gaps in services and supports.

The impacts of domestic violence are also felt in the workplace.  Unions and anti-violence advocates have worked hard to pressure governments to pass workplace violence legislation that offers some protection for workers experiencing violence at home.

In order to stress the need for this type of legislation, advocates have had to rely on American and Australian research to show the prevalence and the impact of domestic violence as there is little Canadian research available.

Canadian survey

This is why the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) in partnership with the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children (CREVAWC) is launching a nation-wide survey on the impact of domestic violence on workers and workplaces. This survey is the first of its kind in Canada.

This national survey will gather data about the prevalence and the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.  It will provide made-in-Canada research that will help unions, employers, advocates and governments develop good public policy and provide data for unions to use at the bargaining table.

All workers (female and male) over the age of 15 are encouraged to complete the survey, whether or not they have personally experienced or witnessed domestic violence.  The survey is anonymous and takes between 10 and 30 minutes to complete.  Take the survey here.  The deadline to complete the survey is June 6, 2014.

Clancy urges members and all Canadians to participate in the survey.  He stated that “as we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s join together to end violence against women and better help the victims.  Please take the time to complete the survey.”

More information:

Domestic Violence in the Canadian Workplace

NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 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

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