Toronto - September 29, 2106 – In October, we honour Women’s History Month. The month commemorates the famous “Persons Case”, which on October 18, 1929, concluded with a ruling that Canadian women were ‘persons’ in society, with a right to vote.
In the labour movement, we recognize and stand in solidarity with UFCW women, who make up more than half of the union membership across the country. Within our UFCW International and UFCW Canada union, women members and leaders encompass identities that resonate with the diversity of women that exists within our movement and society, including immigrant, LGBTQ, and racialized voices. UFCW Canada women leaders have had first-hand experience fighting workplace inequities, precarious employment, and harassment and unscrupulous deportation of union members. UFCW Canada is also joined in a national partnership with the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) in Canada to ensure that we continue in our struggle towards genuine equality for women.
Women’s History month is about consciously committing to gender equality in leadership positions and in asserting workplace rights with specific attention to a gender-based analysis. The changing roles and characteristics of Canadian women must be reflected in workplace policies and included in our collective bargaining language. In addressing delegates of the 12th Biennial UFCW Women’s Network, Christina Pelosi, author and activist, stated that her story of activist success in breaking down legal barriers for American women belonged not only to her but also to her grandmother and all of the women who will create their own stories.
This October, I encourage you to do a gender-based analysis of your workplace. This encompasses both identifying and supporting equality opportunities for the advancement of women in your workplace. Let us be active participants in continuing to live the equality principles that are pillars of our great union.
Paul R. Meinema