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March 8, 2007 International Women’s Day

by Jude MacDonald | March 1, 2007

In 1977, the United Nations proclaimed “a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.”

But International Women’s Day began decades earlier. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City, demanding shorter work hours, better pay and voting rights.

In 2007, International Women’s Week (IWW) began on Sunday, March 4, and ran to Saturday, March 10, with the highlight being IWD on March 8.

Often, when we reflect on violence against women, as Canadians we tend to think about the situation facing women in developing countries – which is completely justified, given their plight of constant poverty, often under totalitarian, dictatorial, military or religious rule. It is certainly easier to talk about places around the world where violence against women is so much more apparent and given so much media coverage. However, when we take a closer look at violence against women right here in Canada – yes, in our own back yard – we must admit that thousands of Canadian women of all ages are victims here at home. They are victims not only of physical violence, but also other forms of violence committed by their male counterparts.

The systematic discrimination within our government policies has led to a kind of social violence. Positive hiring practices, child care programs, literacy programs and even the employment insurance system have not always helped women improve their situation. Economic discrimination against certain women also constitutes a form of violence.

— Pierrette Ringuette, in the Senate | February 28, 2007

Only when measures to address violence against women are an integral part of national strategies for development and human security will violence against women become a rare occurrence instead of a global pandemic.

— Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of UNIFEM

This feature was first published on section15.ca’s predecessor site CoolWomen.

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