Statement by Julie Delahanty, Executive Director, Oxfam Canada
International Women's Day 2015
As we mark International Women’s Day on March 8, there is much to be celebrated and a great deal of work yet to be done to ensure women’s rights are respected in Canada and around the world.
For the first time in a long time, Canadians are talking about violence against women.
The Jian Ghomeshi scandal jolted us into a national conversation about sexism, consent and double standards, which only deepened with allegations of sexual harassment on Parliament Hill.
And yet somehow, amidst all the attention, certain painful truths continue to be ignored.
There are still over a thousand unsolved cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. But the government refuses to call a national public inquiry.
And while our government has been speaking out against forced marriage and sexual violence on the global stage, it continues to cut aid budgets – allocating insufficient resources to supporting the achievement of women’s rights globally.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we need to translate the genuine awakening that arrived via stories of scandal and violence in Canada this past autumn into meaningful change for women and girls everywhere.
The United Nations has called on all countries to have a National Action Plan on violence against women by 2015. Well, here we are in 2015 – an election year – with a critical national and international conversation to be had. More than 17,000,000 Canadian women and girls are ready for that conversation. And for concrete, courageous steps that end violence against women once and for all.
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