Toronto – October 12, 2023 – Over the last 150 years, women in Canada have made notable strides towards gender equality in our workplaces and communities, and each year activists across the country honour Women’s History Month to celebrate those gains.
Held every October, Women’s History Month includes the International Day of the Girl (October 11) and Persons Day (October 18), which aim to raise awareness of the barriers that prevent full equality for women around the world.
In 1992, October was proclaimed Women's History Month to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of women throughout Canadian history. The month was chosen to coincide with anniversary of the Persons Case, which on October 18, 1929 – through the courage and determination of the Famous Five, the five Canadian women who launched the case – established once and for all that women were "persons" when the Privy Council overturned a Supreme Court of Canada decision and ruled that women were indeed persons and could become Senators. Though this decision did not include all women, such as Indigenous women and women of colour, it did mark critical progress in the advancement of gender equality in Canada. This day is commemorated on October 18 every year as Persons Day.
While the roles and opportunities for women have advanced throughout the years, the fact remains that gender-based assumptions and discrimination continue hold women back. Women continue to earn less than their male counterparts in many non-unionized workplaces, and secrecy about pay practice help mask gender and racial gaps. Participate in UFCW’s Help Close the Gender Wage Gap campaign and tell your elected official to support Pay Transparency Legislation and more: Help Close the Gender Wage Gap
In addition, gender-based violence and harassment continues to be prevalent in our society. UFCW’s 2017 research on gender-based violence had 84% of participants reporting harassment and 32% of participants experience threats of violence in the workplace. This October, you can participate in YWCA’s Week Without Violence. From October 17-22, this campaign focuses on a common goal: centering survivors so that together, we can end gender-based violence.
To learn more about how UFCW Canada is advocating for women workers across Canada, go to UFCW.ca/women.