March 8 is International Women’s Day, a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action to continue fighting for gender equity.
The theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. Whether deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. This is especially true for women who face additional bias and discrimination because they are racialized, Indigenous, LGBTQ2+, or have a disability.
Within the past year in Canada, we saw a major victory in the decades-long fight for accessible, affordable, and quality childcare when the federal government reached deals with almost every province and territory for a national $10-a-day childcare program. While access to affordable childcare benefits both women and men, it is a critical issue for greater gender equality and the advancement of women in the workforce. Studies have shown that access to affordable childcare improves women’s economic security and reduces poverty and the gender pay gap. Ontario, under the leadership of the Ford Conservatives, has been the only province that has not signed an agreement. We must continue to fight for a childcare deal in Ontario so that it is truly a national system.
Within CEIU, women activists have continued to make changes. At CEIU’s national convention in 2021, delegates voted to provide automatic delegate status for all members of the National Women’s Committee members at future conventions. Delegates at the Convention also voted in favour of Resolution C-1, which requires CEIU to push employers for flexible working arrangements, training, and a confidential process for employees dealing with domestic violence. This resolution was brought forward from the 2017 Women’s Conference.
As your CEIU National Vice-Presidents for Women’s Issues, we have been sitting at the recently created national equity committees for all three departments. Through these committees, we are able to put forward issues or barriers that are affecting women in their workplaces.
Although we are making strides, many challenges lay ahead. Global conflict, climate change, and the pandemic recovery have placed larger burdens on women. Women must be front and center as the world, and Canada, work to address these crises.
We encourage all of our members to participate in IWD events, which are taking place across Canada.
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Jodi MacPherson, National Vice-President (Women’s Issues), Eastern Canada
Lynda MacLellan, National Vice-President (Women’s Issues), Western Canada