International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global event celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is an opportunity for us to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness about issues, influence behaviour, smash stereotypes, challenge biases and create ripples of change.
What began in 1911, supported by more than one million people, continues today and marks a call to action in accelerating women’s equality. IWD is celebrated once a year, however, our call to action is every minute, of every day, all year and every year until equality for all women is reached.
Gender equality and balance is not solely a women’s issue. It is everyone’s issue. We each have a role and a responsibility to create a more balanced and equitable world for our women and girls, land holders, and the first peoples of our country.
Today, in 2021, more than 100 years since the inaugural International Women’s Day, we have collectively come to expect equity, diversity and inclusion.
At the BC First Nations Justice Council (BCFNJC), we celebrate its presence while also highlighting its absence. While the population of Indigenous people in Canada is approximately six per cent, the statistics are uncomfortable and call on us to do more:
· 46 % of the children in government care are Indigenous
· 47 % of incarcerated women are Indigenous
· Indigenous women are more likely to finish their sentence than be granted parole
As March 6th marked the one-year anniversary of the signing of the BC First Nations Justice Strategy, we, at the BCFNJC, are ensuring our focus remains on the eradication of the inequities of Indigenous people in this province, and take our role in the protection of women and families seriously.
Today, we acknowledge and give thanks to our women. Our sacred life givers. Our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, aunties, female colleagues, relations and friends. Without you, there is no us.
Author: Debbie Scarborough, BCFNJC provincial manager, women and child protection.
About the graphic: Although the hummingbird often represents overcoming difficult times, it also has many other meanings including love, joy, hope, life and charm, and to many different cultures and people, the hummingbird is a symbol of peace.