In producing the Herstory: The Canadian Women’s Calendar, the Saskatoon Women’s Calendar Collective (SWCC) celebrates Canadian women every day. But it never hurts to celebrate just a little bit more.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, and you may be surprised to learn that the first celebration was held on March 19, 1911. In 1977, the United Nations designated March 8 as the official worldwide date for the event. That’s 102 years of celebrating women!
In Canada, the 2013 theme is “Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence Against Women.” Canada’s theme aligns with that of the United Nations: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”
It’s not a nice subject to think about, but unfortunately it’s still necessary to recognize that things could be better for women around the world, especially when faced with stories like the Delhi gang rape case that took
place in late 2012.
For the most part, life is good for women in Canada. We’ve had a minister
responsible for the Status of Women since 1971, and a poll last year found
that Canada was the best place in the world to be a woman. Plus, rates of
self-reported spousal violence and homicides involving women have dropped over the past decades.
But there’s still a long way to go, as these statistics about violence against women in Canada show:
- About 87 per cent of sexual assault victims are female.
- Women are most likely to be victimized by someone they know.
- Only one third of victims report violent crime to formal authorities.
Raising awareness is one of the first steps in making a difference, but
getting involved is even better. If you’re looking for an IWD event this year,
the International Women’s Day 2013 website lists more than 150 events in Canada in more than 70 locations, so there’s almost certainly an event near you.
– Ashleigh Mattern, SWCC