For more than a century, the women’s movement has worked to raise awareness and build solidarity for their struggle to secure equality, rights and respect for women. International Women’s Day has become a focal point for that struggle, a time to not only celebrate the gains made by women in their fight for equality, but also a time to remind ourselves just how much more needs to be done.

The idea of a day for women, celebrated all over the world, emerged at the beginning of the last century in America and Europe. In the early part of the last century, the focal point was the movement for women’s rights and achieving universal suffrage for women.

International Women’s Day really took hold between 1913 and 1917 when women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with their Sisters. In December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, and called for member states to do the same. Canada chose March 8th as International Women’s Day.

Since those early years, much progress has been made for women in developed and developing countries alike: in many countries, provisions guaranteeing the enjoyment of human rights without discrimination on the basis of sex have been included in constitutions; legal literacy and other measures have been introduced to alert women to their rights and to ensure their access to those rights; the world community has identified violence against women as a clear violation of women’s rights; incorporating gender perspectives into regular programs and policies has become a priority at the United Nations and in many member states.

Although much remains to be done to achieve full equality, the voices of women are being heard. On March 8th, FPSE, along with the rest of the labour movement, will join with thousands of women around BC to celebrate IWD. We will also use the day to remind ourselves of the important role that solidarity plays in our collective struggles for rights, equality, and justice. Working together, women have accomplished a lot, but there is much more to do. March 8th provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of women and to highlight the needs and concerns of women on national, regional, and global agendas.

About FPSE

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 19 public and 5 private sector institutions.