5 Reasons to March On Saturday

By Andrea Crosley, March on Ottawa

Andrea Crosley currently lends her energy to several worthy Ottawa business ventures, and outstanding organizations like CARE Canada, and March On Canada/Ottawa. She is on the Women’s March Organizing Committee for the third year. She believes that the only way to overcome inequality is to build understanding and connection.    

Why march on January 19, 2019? 
Here are 5 reasons, along with some extraordinary numbers to consider: 

#1. Gender-Based Violence.

Here are just a few of the shocking numbers around gender-based violence in Canada:

Indigenous women are assaulted almost three times more often than non-Indigenous women in Canada. They also experience domestic violence at higher rates, and are roughly seven times more likely to be killed by a serial killer. 

Every six days, a woman in Canada is murdered by her intimate partner. 

Women living with physical and cognitive impairments experience violence two to three times more often than women living without. Of those women with a disability, 60% experience some form of violence.

On any given day, more than 3,300 women (along with their 3,000 children) are forced to sleep in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.

1.22 Million. 
Over 1.22 million Canadian women live in poverty, along with their children. Women who leave a partner to raise children on their own are more than five times likely to be poor than if they had stayed.

Which leads us to… 

#2. Pay Equity 

In 2015 a UN Human Rights report raised concerns about “the persisting inequalities between women and men” in Canada, including the “high level of the pay gap” and its disproportionate effect on low-income women, racialized women, and Indigenous women. In 2018 Canadian women earn 26% less than men, or $0.74 for every $1.00. Though the Government of Canada introduced pay equity legislation in October of 2018, we must continue to bring pressure on governments at all levels to invest in things like child care, improved financial support for education and training, enhanced parental leave, pay transparency, better access to flexible work arrangements, and the continued appointment of skilled, talented women into leadership positions.

Which leads us to… 

Women's March Ottawa

#3. Equal Representation

Women make up 50% of Canada’s population. There are 88 women among Canada’s 338 MPs, a total representation of only 26%. 

Women currently represent 33.4% (255 out of 762) of all provincial and territorial legislators across Canada as a whole.

On a note more reflective of Canada, women do make up 51% (18 out of 35) of current Cabinet Ministers. This is due in part to a conscious effort by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to retain a gender-balanced Cabinet.

 We need to support women in politics at all levels, women’s leadership needs to be normalized. We need women from all walks of life, from all backgrounds to feel supported and encouraged to enter the public realm. We need governments to reflect our society.

Which leads us to…

 #4. Intersectionality

There are approximately 17.2 million women in Canada. The diversity of the women making up that number is vast. Gender is only one variable in a woman’s life: race, sexuality, level of wealth, level of education, age, physical ability, religion, all these, and more, have a bearing on how every woman experiences her life.

1… or perhaps 3.8. 
Think of the woman you know and love the most in your life, and then think of the individual challenges she has faced. Know that those challenges are multiplied 3.8 billion times around the world.

Which leads us to…

#5. Women’s Rights Are Human Rights

 Really, that says it all.

So march for the five the reasons above. March for the many more reasons not mentioned above. March for the reasons close to your own heart. March for the reasons close to the hearts of those women you know and love. We march again because women matter.

 Brave the cold this Saturday, January 19th and join women and their allies on Parliament Hill at 11 am.