A Call to Women: It Starts with a Campaign
Turn the page of your era calendar back to 1908. March 8, to be exact. Fifteen thousand women were marching through the streets of New York City demanding voting rights, better wages and fairer hours. That day marked the first unofficial Women's Day.
Now turn the page 105 years down the road. It's now present day where six months ago to the day, we as a democratic society once again stood up and saluted the women in our lives, their plights and their sacrifices on International Women's Day.
But are we really making progress for women?
Since we last marked IWD, Canada remains 45th in the world for women in national legislatures in the low 20 percentile. Participation on corporate boards still remains at only 14 per cent. Women are still making less on the dollar than men are and we are still tackling sexual exploitation in Canada. And our current federal government is still dismissing a nation-wide call for an inquiry into missing aboriginal women.
The issues women are facing in our society are not being taken seriously. We have a government that thinks women's issues are topics for social teas and the patron of gala fundraisers. It's the same government who's cabinet is bolstering a low 30 per cent women and it's the same Cabinet that features 0 women in senior economic portfolios. That's the unfortunate reality when men run the table.
It's time for a serious change.
As a partisan, I was proud to support and work for, in my opinion, the strongest woman in the Liberal caucus during the recent Leadership race. Vancouver MP Joyce Murray stands today at the forefront of her caucus as its new progressive flag bearer. She is a shinning example of a woman who worked hard all her life, started and managed an internationally successful multi-million dollar company and has made her mark not only in her home province of British Columbia as its Environment Minister, but across the Country with her progressive program for Leader.
But the torch Joyce has lit needs the relay team to keep it burning. We need 337 more Joyce Murrays in politics, one for every riding, and we have 2 years till the next general election to find them. Business Leaders, Immigrants, Community Activists, Teachers or Lawyers. However you come, your country needs you. It needs strong women with diverse backgrounds and cooperative approaches to help foster a new era for women in our national parliament. It's time for women to bust open the doors of the old boys club and take up their rightful place in politics and our national chamber.
As we pass through the six month mark from and till the next International Women's Day, it's clear that we need women to keep working as hard as they do, to work as hard as they can, and do as much as they can, driven by the determination and belief that they can and do make a difference. When they refuse to give up, there is nothing they cannot accomplish.
Every single woman in this country can lead Canada and the world to end the inequalities and injustices that women face here at home and globally. It starts with you. It starts with politics and it starts with a campaign.
Brenden Johnstone was the Director of Communications and Press Secretary to former Liberal Leadership Candidate and Vancouver MP Joyce Murray. Find him on Twitter @bkjohnstone