Crowd of women waving hands in the air

Be bold for change!

That’s the rallying cry of this year’s International Women’s Day – an annual celebration of women’s achievements and a call to action for gender parity.

What’s inspiring us today is that we’re already seeing bold action on gender equality in Canada:

-Late last year, the government announced that civil rights activist Viola Desmond will be the first woman to appear on Canada’s $10 bill, a symbolic but significant recognition of women’s and African Canadians’ contributions to Canada.

-On January 21, thousands took to the streets for women’s marches in 34 cities across Canada, proudly exercising women’s hard-won rights and waving signs like “No, I will not go quietly back to 1950”, “Women’s rights are human rights”, “Unity is strength” and “Stay nasty!”

-On February 1, dozens of organizations, including the Canadian Women’s Foundation, called on the government to develop a National Gender Equality Plan in response to the recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

-On February 7, a Parliamentary bill to designate the first week of October each year as Gender Equality Week passed its second reading, and is being reviewed by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

-Police forces across the country have committed to reviewing their handling of sexual assault cases following a Globe and Mail investigation of the number of cases categorized as “unfounded.”

-A number of women in government are speaking out about the misogyny and cyberbullying they experience on the job, and raising awareness of this challenge to women’s leadership and participation in politics.

-The Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women is expected to start hearing testimony from families in the spring, and a preliminary report will be published in November 2017.

However, we still have a long way to go in terms of gender equality. And when we look at what’s happening around the world, there’s a growing awareness that our hard-won progress can easily be lost.

Did you know that:

  • Canada fell from 30th to 35th place in the most recent World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap ranking?
  • Canadian women continue to face a wage gap: full-time working women earn, on average, 74 cents for every dollar earned by men.
  • Indigenous women are six times more likely to be killed than non-Indigenous women.
  • Between Grade 6 and Grade 10, the percentage of girls who say they feel confident drops from 36% to 14%.
  • Women hold only 12% of board seats, based on a 2016 review of 677 Canadian companies.

We’re not planning to sit on the sidelines and watch gender equality slide backwards in Canada. We believe that now, more than ever, we need to protect and advance gender equality. The work of the Canadian Women’s Foundation is part of the solution.

The Foundation raises funds to support programs across Canada that are helping to end violence against women, ensure women’s economic independence, empower girls, and foster inclusive leadership. We put a spotlight on ongoing barriers to gender equality through powerful public awareness campaigns like GetConsent and #GirlPowered, and provide a platform for women and girls across the country to share their stories. Most importantly, we’re bringing people of all genders together to achieve a more equal Canada.  

That’s how we’re being bold for change, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day. We hope you join us!

How are you being bold for change? Let us know in the comments section below!

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