Written by Tamara Dudley

We are women. We come from a long line of beautiful, courageous women; our mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, and lost gone ancestors. We come from a history of oppression, discrimination, and inequality; fighting for freedom; fighting for the right to celebrate being a woman.

International Women’s Day started in 1910 when several independent women’s movements marched for the right to vote and to improve the horrible conditions women experienced. These passionate women came together to create International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women’s accomplishments, to reflect on change still needed to make the world a better place for women.

Women’s rights have come a long way. As a 20-something Canadian woman, I can go to school, get a degree, own a house, have an amazing career, start a family, play sports, fight for justice, fall in love with whoever I want, and be happy. For this, I am filled with gratitude.

However, our work is not over. Women’s inequality is still very real, even if it is woven seamlessly into our modern lives. While the impacts of discrimination are highly personal, the source of the inequality is often systemic.

 

It is in the rape culture that allows a Montreal bar to post “I like my violence like I like my beer: domestic “ and think it’s funny.

It is in the inequality that allows women to make 13% less than men at the same jobs.

It is in the fact that up to 70% of people in poverty are women.

It is in the world that allows men to brutally gang rape students on buses.

It is in the fact that among women age 15-44, violence causes more death and disability than war, cancer, malaria, and traffic accidents.

It is in the groups who shoot 16 year old girls for the crime of trying to educate other girls.

It is in the 41 million girls worldwide who are not allowed a primary education.

It is in the 603 million women who live in countries that do not consider domestic violence a crime.

It is in the one billion women who will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

 

It is in the death of Inuk student, Loretta Saunders, murdered in Nova Scotia, while completing her thesis on the 600 missing and/or murdered aboriginal women in Canada.

Rise up. Inspire change. Regardless of your gender, celebrate International Women’s Day by celebrating our progress, reflecting on future action, and inspiring change.  An often-used quote by Ghandi is “be the change you want to see in the world.” This International Women’s Day, challenge yourself not only to be the change, but to inspire the change you want to see in the world.

 

The Howe Sound Women’s Centre invites you to celebrate womanhood by attending an Open House on Thursday, March 6 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm at the Women’s Centre in Squamish: 38021 Third Avenue. Check out the display of notable and inspiring women from past and present. Snacks and cake will be served.

 

What can you do to celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8?

Here are just a couple of suggestions:

– Celebrate the women in your life with notes, hugs, or even a mug of tea.

– Celebrate yourself by treating yourself to a cozy afternoon, a fun day with friends, or even a nap!

– Volunteer with the Howe Sound Women’s Centre Society

– Donate to the Howe Sound Women’s Centre Society to help support our many programs such as Pearl’s Transition House, Pearl’s Safe Home, and Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling

 

Check out these links reflecting on what we’ve accomplished, and what more we have to change in 2014:

– The 28 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2013:

http://www.policymic.com/articles/76145/28-most-iconic-feminist-moments-of-2013

– How the Media Failed Women in 2013:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NswJ4kO9uHc

– Feminist Heroes of 2013:

http://msmagazine.com/blog/2013/12/26/feminist-heroes-of-2013/