Mar. 06, 2013 - Issue #907: Garbage Goes Green
Stand up for women
Last summer, a poll ranked Canada the top G20 country to live in if you're a woman. It cited our country's policies promoting gender equality, our safeguards against violence and exploitation, and our access to healthcare as reasons for earning the top spot.
Assuming that poll is correct and Canada is the best country in which to be a woman, that's a scary truth. That means a country where every six days a woman is killed by her intimate partner is the best place to be a woman. It means a country where each year 427 000 women over the age of 15 report being sexually assaulted is the best place to have two x chromosomes. (That statistic, courtesy of the Canadian Women's Foundation, is even more startling if you keep in mind only 10 percent of sexual assaults are reported.) It means the best place to live if you're a woman is a country where women make up less than 25 percent of elected officials and continue to earn about 70 cents to each dollar a man makes.
And it means the best place to be a woman is in a country where, in the case of an unwanted pregnancy, if you live on Prince Edward Island, you have to travel to another province to get an abortion. It's a country where 51 percent of single mothers live in poverty and where, on any given day, more than 3000 women are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.
How can Canada be the best place for a woman to live if all of this is true? It seems those people out there claiming gender equality is a fight that's been won need to give their heads a shake. Statistics like these don't scream equality—they scream injustice and discrimination.
Although Canadian women clearly have it better than many others around the world, that doesn't mean that these statistics should be as good as it gets. It doesn't mean that women should settle for violence, for pay inequity and for poverty. Women, and society as a whole, deserve better than that. It's time that living in the best country to be a woman means living in a country where each and every person has the same opportunities and the same rights.
International Women's Day (IWD) is on March 8. The day began as a way of both celebrating the achievements of the women who have gone before us and acknowledging the work that still needs to be done to acheive equality and safety for women. The above numbers show that there is still a long way to go before IWD can just be a celebration. And they prove that women and men alike have a lot of work to do before gender equality is realized.
So on March 8, let's all stand up and speak up to ensure the success of that fight. Let's prove, beyond a doubt, that Canada is the best country to be a woman. V
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