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Is Canada, a land of feminism?

#Myfeminism was the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day and it was so appropriate for feminism to be celebrated on this day. Women have always natured their families, social and religious communities and the society on a whole. They have not only been taking care of their own families and teaching them compassion but also giving thousands of volunteer hours to keep our society respecting the values of feminism and protecting human rights for all.

We as Canadians have evolved over time and ensured many rights for the women. Rights such as voting rights at all levels of the government, right to run for the public office, right to own a property, right for same pay for same work and many more. Getting maternity pay and not being discriminated for being away from work to take care of young children are a few other rights that we all should be proud of.

Just a quick rundown the timelines of Canadian history will remind us the milestones that steered us to reach up to today:

From exclusion to inclusion -With five women stepping forward, in 1929 they succeeded in getting all women recognized and included in the term “persons” in our legislation (The British North America Act). Efforts still must go on to include women as humans and be respected for her choices in the society just as men, let it be what to wear, who to spend life with, if and when to become a mother, if and what to drink, what profession to take and so on.

Voting is an earned right of women- Women fought long and hard and gradually won the battle to vote at municipal, one by one at provincial and then at federal level. By 1960 all Canadians, including women were granted the right to vote in federal election. I thus time and agian and again inspire women to engage in active politics.

Equal pay for equal work- Equality between women and men in the work force was first attended in 1951 through Fair Employment Act and the Female Employees Fair Remuneration Act.1953 the Canada Fair Employment Practices act; 1956 The Female Employees Equal Pay Act and in 1986 the Employment Act was applied to federally employees to eliminate barriers that limited employment opportunities for women.

While there were so many proud moments, there were also countless women who had suffered. This discrimination still continues in many ways. However when a Prime Minister of a country in which the women ( Viola Desmond )who challenged Canada of the “white only section” , lands on the national currency note ($10); when the horrific past that included crimes committed against thousands of women by the policing department lead by the “boys club” is corrected by trusting the very same department to be lead now by a capable, bold and brillient woman (Brenda Lucki) then it tells you that the era has turned a corner.

Including the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, other ministers, elected official, and The Honorable Prime minister, Justin Trudeau himself spoke on International Women’s day to make gender equality our reality.

We still have ways to go, let’s inspire each other to continue contributing towards making Canada a country that respects all humans and especially our women and girls.

Together we can, together we will!

Meera Gill

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