Why We Still March in Edmonton
The 2nd Annual Women's March occurred in Edmonton on January 20th, 2018.
I was asked more than once, with an incredulous tone, "Why are you still marching?"
Instead of punching these people in the face, I opted to find some facts and to have polite discourse about the topic.
Here's why we march:
Gender equality does not exist in Canada.
We are close, yet so far.
Here are some straight facts for you, organized by category of inequality. All facts were taken verbatim from the Canadian Women's Foundation website, and you can find more information there.
Approximately every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.
Violence against women costs taxpayers and the government billions of dollars every year: Canadians collectively spend $7.4 billion to deal with the aftermath of spousal violence alone.
It has a profound effect on children: Children who witness violence in the home have twice the rate of psychiatric disorders as children from non-violent homes.
Sexual Assault and Harassment
Sexual assault and harassment are persistent forms of gender-based violence that are rooted in gender inequality.
Sexual assault is the only violent crime in Canada that is not declining.
Dealing with the aftermath of sexual assault costs Canadians billions of dollars every year.
One in 10 Canadians live in poverty and 1.5 million women in Canada live on a low income.
Certain groups of women are more likely to live on a low income than others, and many systemic barriers stand in the way of their financial stability.
Gender Wage Gap
Out of 34 countries in the OECD, Canada had the 7th highest gender wage gap in 2014.
Traditional “women’s work” pays less than traditional “men’s work.”
Women aged 25 to 54 accounted for 22% of the Canada’s minimum-wage workers in 2009, more than double the proportion of men in the same age group.
Based on a gender wage gap of 31.5% in Ontario, a woman would have to work 14 additional years to earn the same pay a man earns by age 65
Barriers That Girls Face
As girls approach adolescence, they face:
High levels of sexual assault and other forms of violence
A sharp decline in mental health and confidence
Negative stereotyping and sexualization
Indigenous girls in Canada are especially at risk. They experience alarmingly high levels of depression, suicide, addiction, HIV infection, and poverty.
The Lack of Inclusive Leadership
Although Canada’s federal cabinet is now evenly split between men and women ("Because it's 2015"), only 27% of the seats in the House of Commons belong to women.
Women comprise 19.5% of the board members for Canada’s top 500 companies.
Just 8.5% of the highest-paid positions in Canada’s top 100 listed companies are held by women.
I highly encourage you to check out the Facts pages on the Canadian Women's Foundation's website, because each of the above categories includes ways you can help to reduce barriers and make the world a better place for women in Canada.
We march so that people will keep talking about these issues that women face on a daily basis. Keeping it at top of mind is critical for change. That change requires a collective of people to take action.
Please do your part.
And don't you dare ask me again, "Why are you still marching?" with a tone in your voice like you don't believe marching affects change, because next time you will get a look from me that might very well kill you.
Femme Cabal Co-Founder