Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3904

Reflections on Women's History Month

This October marked the 30th anniversary of Women’s History Month in Canada.

On October 18, 1929, Canada’s highest court changed the legal definition of “persons” to include at least some women. This ruling allowed women to enter politics and begin advancing gender equality in Canada, though it must be acknowledged that Asian and Indigenous peoples were not given voter rights until 1948 and 1960 respectively.

October offers a time for education, reflection, and support for our sisters at home and around the world as we acknowledge Women’s History Month.

Although gender rights in Canada are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights legislation, women still face harassment and discrimination in some workplaces, especially those still perceived as male dominated. Although women are legally entitled to equal pay, in some sectors this is still not respected. In addition, during the pandemic, women lost more employment than men.

Canada's own record on women's rights is especially shameful when one considers the hundreds of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. And recent international events have underscored the importance of knowing our history and recognizing that we cannot become complacent about the gains we’ve made over the last century.

On June 24, the American Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that had protected abortion rights in the United States for the last 50 years. On September 16, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was killed in Iran by the “morality police,” igniting what have become global protests led by women and girls.

Our union is proud to support Women’s History Month commemorations, and the enduring importance of this event to the labour movement and beyond.

In solidarity,

Catherine Jenkins
VP Campaigns & Equity