March 8 centennial for International Women's Day | National Union of Public and General Employees

March 8 centennial for International Women's Day

Idea dates back to second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910

Ottawa (2 March 2010) – March 8th, 2010 commemorates the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD).

In 1910 the second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen with over 100 women from 17 countries in attendance representing unions, socialist parties and working women’s clubs. The idea for IWD originated at the conference. Participants called on every country to celebrate women and press for equality on the same day every year.

 Download NUPGE poster for International Women's Day 2010

The United Nations adopted a resolution in 1977 urging its member states to proclaim a day for women’s rights and international peace known as International Women’s Day (IWD). This day symbolizes how far women around the world have come in their struggle for equality and recognizes the many challenges that remain.

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has released a poster in its ongoing series, One Good Idea Deserves Another - Full Human Rights for All. The union invites you to download the poster and distribute it as widely as possible by clicking on the poster graphic above or the link below.

The poster asks the questions: “Whatever became of me? How tough is it to find time for yourself? How tough is it to balance work life with home life?”. This is the theme of the Quality of Women’s Lives project that the National Union has been working on. Although the issue of balancing our working lives with our personal lives affects both genders, research continues to show that the responsibilities of caring for children, the elderly and the ill falls mostly to women.

Recession threatens progress

All of these issues are magnified by the lack of a universal early childhood education and care system in Canada and a growing need for more elder care spaces and services. Adding to the pressure is the fact that the Canadian economy is in recession and research shows that women will often suffer more financial and employment consequences in a depressed economy. As all levels of government deal with growing deficits, the likelihood of social support systems, health care systems and long-term care systems suffering cutbacks are very high.

As the burden of care giving responsibilities and household chores continue to be carried mostly by women, their levels of stress, stress related illnesses, burnout and depression continue to climb. Along with the health issues associated with stress, women are also finding that there is little time for personal growth, to volunteer within their communities or to pursue political leadership.

“For a hundred years, we have celebrated the achievements of women around the world. Yet equality still has not been achieved. To make lasting changes for women, we must ensure that they are able to pursue and obtain positions of leadership within our governments, our communities and our unions,” states NUPGE’s national president James Clancy.

“In order for women to have the ability to move into positions of leadership, they need to have access to child care, elder care and support systems that enable them to balance work issues and life issues. The National Union will continue to stress the importance of this issue and its effects on the well-being of Canadian women.”


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

More information:
Download NUPGE poster for International Women's Day 2010 - pdf