Make it happen – theme of this year’s International Women’s Day

By Sara Mohammed, Ontario Women's Health Network

This week, people across the globe are celebrating women through a variety of events that honour International Women’s Day – March 8th.  Born from intersecting social justice movements, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day where we recognize and celebrate the advancement of women, while also remembering that the goal of equality is not yet over.  Although we have come a long way in addressing the inequalities faced by women, there is still much work to be done.

Particularly in Canada, we still need to address the many intersecting barriers that women experience in accessing the social determinants of health. Health inequities are really just a symptom of systemic inequities manifesting in, for example:

•    The growing rate of gendered inequality in Canada, reflected in the gender wage gap (showing Canada as 20th in the Global Gender Gap and 23rd in the UN Gender Inequality Index)
•    The issue of missing and murdered Aboriginal women
•    The apathy of people towards violence against women (with 24% of Ontarians believing that victims are to blame for domestic violence, and 58% of Ontarians saying they would not intervene in an abusive situation)

This year’s theme, Make it Happen, is encouraging action for advancing and recognizing women.

Here at home in Canada, Amnesty International is doing just this by launching a campaign to ensure that political parties make meaningful commitments to improve women’s lives. They are calling for a debate addressing issues affecting women and girls leading up to the next federal election. #UpforDebate is one way that Amnesty International is trying to continue the battle for women’s rights.

IWD is really an international festival of arts, conferences, rallies, networking events, parades and more. This day is about recognizing and celebrating women with allies and supporters, honouring the intersectional issues affecting everyone. Can you imagine the global energy currently underway in places all over the world?!  You can find out what events are happing in your community on the IWD website.

We encourage you to use and follow some of the hashtags related to this special day: