March 8th, International Women’s Day, is a day of great significance for women, as it honours their ongoing struggle for freedom and equality. In the past year, women around the world have been fighting for their rights amidst violence, war, and policy changes in their countries.
The death of Mahsa Amini, while in police custody, sparked a revolution in Iran which has garnered worldwide attention and support. The leaders of this revolution are the brave Iranian women who have, for decades, been brutally oppressed by the Islamic Republic. The fearless women at the forefront of this uprising are demanding justice, freedom, equality, and basic civil liberties for all Iranians. Today we pay tribute to the unbreakable spirit of the Iranian women who continue to fight for their human rights.
The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan has greatly impeded advancements in human rights. Women and girls are now banned from secondary and higher education, they are forbidden from travelling long distances without a male chaperone, they must cover their faces in public, and, with the exception of female healthcare workers and teachers, they are not permitted to work outside the home. This crisis is escalating with no end in sight, and the Taliban policies have quickly turned many women and girls into virtual prisoners in their homes.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the UN reported that gender gaps in food insecurity, malnutrition, poverty, and increased gender-based violence have worsened inside Ukraine, and also around the world due to war-induced price hikes and shortages.
The US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade on June 24, 2022. This was a historic piece of legislation, dating back to 1973, that protected a woman’s constitutional right to seek abortion. This decision from the Supreme Court was seen as an attack on women’s rights, causing widespread outcry and demonstrations across the US and around the world.
Although here in Canada we have come a long way in the advancement of women’s rights, there is still a long way to go. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, approximately 1.5 million Canadian women currently live on a low income. “Women are also more likely to live in poverty than men due to factors such as motherhood and the choice (or expectation) to devote more time to unpaid work including childcare, housework, meal prep and eldercare.” When you also consider the fact that women working full time make only 74 cents on every dollar earned by men, it’s clear that changes must be made.
Women’s rights are human rights and now is the time for change.