Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, highlighted the slogan of “Equality Matters” and the importance of continuing the struggle for gender equality. In a statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017, Monsef emphasized that “Canada has the potential to lead the world on this issue.”
On March 8, 2017, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, committed to “provide $650 million in funding to address gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.”
“Reproductive health” is a code name for having access to affordable methods of birth control. In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Monsef said that “reproductive health rights in Canada and around the world are critical to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” Monsef added, “We’re committed to making sure that women and girls have that choice, because otherwise, this is a form of gender-based violence.”
The following is Monsef’s statement (March 8, 2017):
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we can be proud of the progress that Canada has made toward gender equality over the course of the last 150 years. But we must acknowledge that the struggle for gender equality continues. As long as discrimination and gender stereotypes influence our daily lives, we have more work to do.
Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is Equality Matters.
Equality matters because we can make our economy stronger when we harness the talents of all Canadians.
Equality matters because when women have a seat at the table, our government is more effective.
Equality matters because our children are watching and learning from our actions.
Equality matters because an inclusive society where everyone has a chance to contribute will always work better than one that marginalizes its people.
Canada has the potential to lead the world on this issue. I believe that we can come together and show the global community that equality is good for the economy, good for democracy, good for families, and good for everyone.
I urge all Canadians to join us in exposing stereotypes and challenging discrimination. Stand up and say that equality matters to you! Tell us why using the hashtag #EqualityMatters. Inspire your friends by tagging the people in your life who work for gender equality every day. Small actions like these will help move us toward a more equitable future — one where girls and boys can aspire to any goal they can imagine and where women and men can contribute to every aspect of society.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Monsef has sent a video message for Canadians:
Hello. Bonjour. I am speaking to you on this International Women’s Day from Ottawa, the traditional territory of the Algonquin Peoples. Thanks to you, the call for gender equality is getting stronger and louder each and every day. Together, we have the power to make gender equality a reality. Please join me and countless other Canadians in breaking down barriers and calling out inequality. It’s easy to get started—just add your voice. Use social media and tell the world why gender equality matters to you using the hashtag #EqualityMatters. Share your story and take a stand for gender equality. Thank you and happy International Women’s Day!