Ottawa – September 30, 2013 – In 1992, October was proclaimed Women's History Month to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of women throughout Canadian history. October 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. The ruling not only opened the political doors for Canadian women. It also clearly asserted that women's equality rights in Canada were fundamental.
What the law allows is one thing, but what opportunity allows is another. For millions of Canadian women, their opportunity to fully use their talents and vision continues to be limited by access to affordable and accessible quality child care. In Canada, women’s share of unpaid work, including childcare, remains double to that of men; so the lack of quality, affordable child care falls particularly hard on women and their access to work outside the home.
Balancing work and family has always been a challenge for women, but undeterred, women in Canada have made and continue to make a tremendous contribution to science, education, politics, commerce, science, sports, culture, community life, and to the labour movement including our own great union. Yet, many women who would add to these achievements can't, because access to affordable, publicly funded, good quality child care is not a priority for the Harper government, which dismantled plans for a nationally coordinated system shortly after it was first elected.
Women's History in Canada deserves to be celebrated and acknowledged. It is a time to look back, but also to commit to a future where a lack of quality, affordable child care is a historical footnote — and where no woman is limited by an uncaring government. Add your voice to make that future happen. UFCW Canada members, activist and allies are also encouraged to download and share a special poster to commemorate Women's History Month.