Since my twenties, when I listened to inspiring speeches, marched down Yonge St, and picked up loads of information at the fair on International Women’s Days in Toronto, IWD has been a special occasion. Year after year women’s support and advocacy groups form coalitions to protest; to honour womens’ struggles to survive obstacles such as violence, racism, and poverty; to network and to plan future action.
Would you believe that International Women’s Day has been an event for 100 years?—since 1911, to be exact, when rallies were held in several European countries. Finally, in 1975, International Women’s Day became an official United Nations event celebrated annually on March 8.
The theme of Kingston International Women’s Week 2011 is “We don’t stop—We can’t stop—We won’t stop”. I like this logo as it speaks to the ongoing determined efforts of women over hundreds of years. The week is being celebrated with a fair, forums, films, concerts, a dance and other events—it started on Saturday March 5 and goes to Saturday March 12—for information, check www.wedontstopkingston.com.
The United Nations 2011 theme is “Equal access to education, training, science and technology. Pathway to decent work for women”—addressing how gender barriers to education and training and lack of technology, such as computers, perpetuates the cycle of female poverty.
In Toronto, the International Women’s Day Organizing Committee is asking the city of Toronto and other governments to address issues such as the need for affordable housing, meaningful employment, child care, community services, and transportation for women living in Toronto. The theme: “Our City, Our Services, Our Future—Women take on the Fight”.
To find out about events near where you live, a good starting point would be the International Women’s Day website.