International Women’s Day: Why does it matter?

International Women's Day

International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1917 and yes, amazing strides have been accomplished over the period. Yet almost 100 years later, equality is still far from a reality. According to the Canadian 2010 census, the population is made up by a small majority of women; 50.4% to be exact, however the scales are not as equal in regard to pay, aging, child care, domestic work, caring for seniors, C-Suite jobs, employment rates, and the list goes on. Factor gender in with any number of other differentiators such as age, race, or education level and the inequity is compounded.

For example, the better educated a woman is, the closer is her pay to the pay of an equally educated man. Close, but not equal as these stats from 2005 show.




Apprentice or Trade School Certificate









 Additionally, women are almost four times as likely as men to work part-time, likely due to family responsibilities preventing full-time work.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reports efforts to close Canada's gender gap are moving at a rate so slow, it could take Canadian women 228 years to catch up to men.

But beyond the realm of finances and employment, women face even more insidious threats; domestic violence and sexual assault. Here are just a few of the facts (from the Canadian Women's Foundation) that should make everyone take a deep breath and a stand on International Women’s Day:

  • On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.
  • Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence—that’s about 12% of all violent crime in Canada. Since only 22% of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.
  • Exposure to violence can affect children’s brain development and ability to learn, and lead to a wide range of behavioural and emotional issues such as anxiety, aggression, bullying, phobias, and insomnia.
  • Research shows that children who witness violence are more likely to grow up to become victims or abusers.

So now you know why it matters. Show your support of women everywhere by joining SEIU Healthcare at the Toronto International Women’s Day rally on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Women and men alike will show their support to the strong SEIU women who make up approximately 85% of are membership and who are making a difference, working to close the gap in their workplace.

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