International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women’s achievements and to renew our commitment to promote women’s equality and to seek justice for women who are disproportionately marginalized both nationally and internationally.
There are many challenges ahead. Over the past several years, the well-being of Canadian women has been actively undermined by the conservative federal government. Here are just a few of the low points:
- The conservative government cut funding for the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) and to a number of Aboriginal women’s health organizations. The Harper government also cut the Women’s Health Contribution Program, which was the main source of funding for six women’s health organizations across the country.
- Court Challenges Program was cancelled leaving organizations such as the Women’s Legal Education and Action fund without one of their main sources of funding.
- The federal government amended the mandate of Status of Women Canada dropping the term “equality” and defunding women’s groups that do advocacy, lobbying or general research. The budget cuts at SWC forced most of its regional offices to close.
- Funding for the Sisters in Spirit database of missing and murdered Aboriginal women project was eliminated in 2010.
- The long-awaited National Child Care program was cancelled.
- The federal long gun registry – an essential component of preventing violence against women – was eliminated.
In this larger context of growing political hostility towards women, CAUT is concerned about the emergence of misogynist “men’s rights” groups on some Canadian campus. Acts of misogyny and the persistence of “rape culture” on our campuses are unacceptable. CAUT encourages local academic staff associations to join in International Women’s Day activities in their communities. Local academic staff associations are also encouraged to join in the call for: a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women; a national strategy to address a comprehensive plan to eradicate violence against women; a national child care program; and to reinvest in social programs.