This year, women will celebrate International Women’s Day with a renewed sense of strength. In many places around the world women are taking stands against sexual harassment, and sexual violence. While in North America this is often connected with what is called the #metoo movement, it is also happening in countries as diverse as India, Ireland and Japan. We know that sexual violence is still common – in particular women who are Indigenous, racialized, trans, homeless, or sex workers are disproportionately at risk. In war zones, rape is a weapon.
This March 8, International Women’s Day, is time to celebrate our history of struggle for equality, and to unite in action for a better and more just world. In Canada we celebrate the defeat of the anti-women Harper Tories, who shut down virtually every federal agency or service which supported women’s equality, closed Status of Women Canada offices, eliminated funding of women’s organizations which engage in advocacy, passed Bill C-36 (which endangers the lives of sex workers) and blocked legal avenues to fight for pay equity.
For over a century, March 8 has been the international day to honour the women in all countries who strive to achieve full equality. On IWD 2014, the Communist Party of Canada sends our warmest greetings to all women in the fight against poverty, austerity, violence, misogyny and war. As the United Nations has declared for this year’s IWD, “equality for women is progress for all.”
Here, the ruling class claims that Canada is a country of equality, fairness and social justice. Yet recent years have seen huge struggles around issues such as access to education, pay equity, union rights, jobs, devastation of the environment, deportations of migrants. Women have played a leading role in the Quebec student strike, the Idle No More movement, grassroots environmental struggles, and defence of labour and social rights.