International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the significant gains won by generations of women, girls, and female-identifying persons, including in our union. Women of Steel have made important contributions to the union that have made workplaces better for all. We thank Women of Steel for all that they do to make our union stronger, workplaces safer and more equitable and our communities more just.
March 8 is also a chance to highlight the challenges we still need to address. In 2023, women’s safety and health are still at risk due to poverty, sexism, racism, and ableism. Yet there are solutions.
Poverty makes women vulnerable. Last year, a Winnipeg man was arrested for murdering at least four Indigenous women. He cruised homeless shelters to find his victims. One solution? A guaranteed livable basic income would increase safety and health for women marginalized by poverty, race, disability, and other factors. NDP MP Leah Gazan’s Bill C-223 is an important first step.
Discrimination makes women vulnerable. Nurses and personal-support workers were called heroes during the pandemic, but governments and employers are slow to pay them adequately. One solution? The USW and other unions challenge discriminatory laws that pay these workers—a majority of whom are female and/or racialized—at rates lower than male-dominated jobs in the public sector. [https://usw.ca/another-win-for-workers-over-ford/ ]
And gaps in workplace health and safety protections make women vulnerable. One solution? USW’s campaign on Raising the Bar on Women’s Health and Safety, which asks that we listen to women’s concerns and proposed solutions and that we make work safe for all bodies, regardless of size, shape, sex, and gender. [https://usw.ca/campaigns/raise-the-bar/ ]
Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day by continuing our work for more justice, safety, and health for all who identify as women! This includes renewing our commitment to Women of Steel programs and addressing barriers to women’s leadership and involvement in our union.
Marty Warren, National Director for Canada
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Scott Lunny, District 3 Director
Dominic Lemieux, District 5 Director
Myles Sullivan, District 6 Director