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Trois-Rivières, Que. – October 26, 2015 – The last step of a vast mobilization organized for the fourth World March of Women recently took place in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. More than 10,000 women from across the province marched in a festive and family-friendly atmosphere to raise awareness of the social inequities that women face.
Dozens of UFCW women activists gathered at the march, which is held every five years. Some have been attending the event since 2000. They had the following to say about the status of women in Canada, and the additional work that needs to be done to advance women's rights going forward:
"I wish to pay tribute to all those women who came before us, and who fought to advance our rights. Now we need to do our part in continuing their work, for gender equality is still a long way away in several respects. For instance, we are still feeling the consequences of austerity measures that have been forced upon us by various governments, as women are the ones who suffer the most from such measures. By participating in the World March of Women, we are striving to raise people’s awareness of the issues that affect half of our population." – Anouk Collet, Regional Director for Quebec, UFCW Canada
"Having participated in several World Marches for a number of years now, it was very beautiful and inspiring to see all of the young and dynamic women who boldly participated in this year's march." – Gisèle Auger, UFCW Canada Local 500
"Seeing and feeling the atmosphere from this group of participants was very motivating. Too often we hear that people just don’t get involved, but UFCW women activists were a leading force at this year's World March of Women." – Marie-Élaine Desrosiers, UFCW Canada Local 500
"When we marched in 2000, our demands were clear: to end women’s poverty, and to give us affordable child care. Fifteen years later, women are paid 65% of the average man’s wage, which not only affects a woman's current standard of living but also their retirement. That is why we keep on demonstrating.’’ – Louisette Hinton, UFCW Canada retiree
"This whole mobilization is a follow-up to the Bread and Roses march that was organized by the Quebec Women’s Federation with the support of the labour movement. As a woman from Quebec, I am very proud to see that in the last twenty years, our action has borne fruit, considering that women are now marching everywhere in Quebec to demand that their rights be recognized and respected. We continue to weave the history of solidarity among all women. Many young women were participating in this march, which goes to show that there are now people who are taking over from us, and that this movement is here to stay. And the dead-in with about a thousand women laying on the ground to symbolize all murdered aboriginal women was deeply moving." – Francine Leblanc, UFCW Canada retiree
"This was a great day of reunion with the women of UFCW Canada, as well as our sisters from the FTQ affiliates and different women's groups. And the sun was out shining for us while we marched." – Denise Petitclerc, UFCW Canada Local 503
"This was my first World March of Women. I loved the festive atmosphere, which was filled with solidarity. This was an opportunity to realize that so much still needs to be done to achieve equality for women in terms of economics, education, and conditions of employment. I am so glad to have participated, and I will be there next time, too!’’ – Virginie Sauvé-Lemay, UFCW Canada Local 500