FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Women on the March until we are All free!

A lot of road has been covered since women did not have the right to vote, sign a cheque or make decisions for their children without the approval of their spouse. However, don’t misunderstand us. In spite of what you see in the media, equality is still not a reality! Studies are numerous, the numbers overwhelm us: in spite of some progress, the inequalities continue.

In 2004, Canada was ranked 7th according to the Gender Gap Index of the World Economic Forum. In 2009, it was ranked 25th according to this same index and 73rd according to the Gender Disparity Index of the UNO. Women still only earn 70.5% of men’s salaries, and even women with a university education only earn $0.79 for each dollar earned by their male colleagues. In situations of spousal violence, 83% of victims are women. At the world level, women count for nearly 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in poverty and for two-thirds of illiterate people.   

Many international conventions and tools have been adopted over the last fifty years. However, with the neoliberal policies that attack public services head on, and which open all the fields of human activity to the unbridled strength of the market, the inequalities, discrimination and violence not only persist, but intensify.

In 2000, hundreds of thousands of women from 6,000 non government organizations in 181 countries and territories marched in their village, their neighbourhood or in their town in support of the demands for putting an end to poverty and violence towards women. It was at that moment that women became aware of their collective power. They then declared: “Women on the march until we are all free!”

The third international action of the World March of Women will take place in 2010. From Brazil to Kenya, from Portugal to Japan, from Bangladesh to Chili, by way of England, Belgium, Mexico and Turkey… women will be marching for access to the common good and resources, for economic independence for women, for the cessation of violence as an instrument of control, for peace and demilitarization and for the rights of indigenous women. The Quebec demands are the product of a large consultation and a consensus that stems from the discussions by the representatives of more than fifty Quebec civil society groups.

The World March of Women will take place in all regions of Quebec from October 12 to 17 this year, first locally, then regionally, finally ending with a large rally in Rimouski on Sunday, October 17.  Attend these activities in large numbers so that inequalities become a thing of the past!