This March is for women

Gillian Barth, President and CEO of CARE Canada, takes part in Vancouver's Walk In Her Shoes event in 2017

By Gillian Barth, President and CEO, CARE Canada

On any given day, many numbers pass my desk.

These could be the numbers of those we reach with life-saving support. Or the numbers of those we have yet to reach. Or the often astoundingly low cost to provide a life-changing tool to someone in need.

Sometimes, these numbers slide quietly past our eyes when they should stop us in our tracks and make us scream out in protest. Numbers like: one in three women will experience abuse in her lifetime.

It’s an impossibly big number that, as a society, we’ve largely failed to confront. For every group of three women chatting over coffee, waiting in line at the pharmacy, attending law school ­­- one will face an unimaginably life-changing battle.

Thankfully, this number is not going unnoticed any more. I saw it on the protest signs of the women who filled the streets in January last year and again in 2018. I saw it as the hashtag #metoo lit up my social media feed. I see it every day in the work that CARE does to empower women and girls around the world to lift themselves out of poverty.

We have started to mobilize, of course, and I for one, am challenging myself to do more. Why? Because our solidarity is powerful, it is world-altering – and as such it should know no boundaries.

A sign from the Women's March in Ottawa, January 2018

Many of those we need to stand with, we can’t hear on our social media platforms and we don’t see on the news. The #metoo movement doesn’t work for those without a platform, and there are no marches or viral social media campaigns in poverty-stricken communities where laws don’t yet protect the most vulnerable.

And this is why we need your help.

Every year on March 8th, CARE calls on Canadians to come together in support of women on International Women’s Day. But this year we need more than one day for the movement that is building. Today marks the launch of CARE’s March4Women a global movement for a more equal world. We are dedicating the entire month of March to ensuring that women all over the world have equal rights and freedoms.

Because of our mission and our focus on women and girls, CARE is deeply committed to building a world where violence, harassment and abuse against anyone unacceptable. We work to end violence against women in communities around the world, by providing support to women and girls who have experienced abuse and by working to change the cultural norms in the communities we work in.

March4Women is a call for solidarity against gender-based violence on a global scale.

This March, we will build upon the strength of #metoo, and share our voices and our social platforms with women in developing countries because #shetoo deserves to be free from violence.

Gillian Barth, President and CEO of CARE Canada, with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at Ottawa's Walk In Her Shoes event in March 2017

This March, we can Walk In Her Shoes, taking steps in solidarity with those who walk long hours, alone and unprotected, for food and water.

This March, we can push global leadership for change in working conditions, ensuring that women around the world work in safe spaces, free from harassment and violence.

I hope you will join us throughout March to raise the voices of women around the world to grow this movement and fight for change. Together, our voices WILL be heard.