Monday, March 08, 2010

Women's Day

I decided that I wouldn't bother reflecting on International Women's Day this year. After all, women in Canada have made great strides toward equality and this is reflected in international studies. This country is a good place for women to live in terms of longevity, human rights, post-secondary education and income. Women are now well represented in professions such as medicine, law, education and --yes -- the ministry of more liberal denominations. We have established excellent programs for maternity and parental leave. So do we really need a women's day anymore?

Then I thought about our older daughter, Jocelyn, who has been told, matter-of-factly, that in the field in which she is training men are consistently paid better than women. Through my wife Ruth I hear of the horrendous circumstances many women find themselves in because of domestic violence. There is still a glass ceiling for women in this country. While women can find meaningful employment, it is unlikely that they will reach upper management positions.

Of course in many other countries of the world women are still second class citizens and often have few rights. And it is disturbing that religions, including Christianity in some cases, justify inequality as God's intention and will.

When I read the gospels I find a number of stories in which Jesus has a different, much more open awareness of women than the prevailing culture. As I have said before, he didn't have modern sensibilities, but he opened the door to equality.

So, do you think International Women's Day still makes sense? Will you do anything to acknowledge this day?


IanD said...

Totally makes sense, and always will.

Its for all of our daughters and helps to draw attention to the issues you've highlighted, David.

On a personal note, I've been teaching for 9 years, and for 5 of those I have had female principals running the schools I've been in. Of the vice-principals I've worked under, for only 2.5 of those years has a man been in the role.

Gains are being made across the board in places, and we need an annual reminder like the day in question to keep things moving in the right direction.

Susan said...

I agree with Ian that we need the day to remember where we have come from and where we still need to go. But my question is - how has it been acknowledged by the media, our various levels of government and our society. When the tv and the radio have been on - the talk has been about the police shooting, the provincial throne speech, and the Oscars. Did any schools or teachers do anything in class today to acknowledge it? Did any local organizations have planned events? I didn't hear or read about any. It wasn't mentioned in church yesterday. When reflecting back over the past years, I really don't remember any significant things happening. What I do remember is the walks, the gatherings, the candlelighting services on December 8th to remember the women killed in Montreal. This anniversary date and events stand out more than what I can remember happening on March 8th.
As for what I have done to celebrate the day - I have done the everyday ordinary things landdry and studing for an online course that I am taking.

lionlamb said...

Thanks Ian for mentioning your work experience. Positive signs of change.

After I wrote this today I tuned to The Current on CBC which was all about women's issues around the world. And there was more on the radio at midday when I came home for lunch. I think you're correct, Susan, that there wasn't widespread coverage, but what I heard was excellent. Thanks!

Laurie said...

In Toronto March 6 there was the annual International Women's Day march, close to 3000 women marched and then there were lectures and forums at Ryerson University. It was a fun and emotional day. I have attended many years and I always come away awed at some women.

lionlamb said...

Thanks for letting us know about Saturday's event Laurie. When we lived in Sudbury my wife Ruth attended an annual Women's Day Breakfast. I wonder if it still takes place.