The theme for International Women’s Day this year, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change,” is exemplified by women around the world who are removing barriers for generations of women and girls to come. They inspire us with their determination to create a future where every woman and girl will experience freedom from discrimination at home, at work, and under the law – with every door in our society open to her.
For as long as barriers and discrimination have existed, women have worked to overcome them and clear the way for the next generation, and this is also true within our labour movement. From historic advances for women at work, such as maternity leave, to the changes still happening in BC, like creating affordable childcare, when we unite to build our workplace and social policies more intelligently we open up a world of change. As unions, we are also working to address the racism and discrimination that still exist for too many, especially for Indigenous women, people with disabilities, and trans people. I am so proud to be a part of a movement that seeks to lift everyone up in recognition that we are stronger together.
Post-secondary education is a crucial part of building this equal future. Education is a great equalizing force – we only need to look at the learners filling our Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning classrooms to see that when people can access education, it changes their lives. Of course, our colleges and universities wouldn’t exist without our talented educators who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Today, it is important to recognize that women – including women of colour, Indigenous women, and women with disabilities – are disproportionately impacted by contract academic staff work, underlining the need to pay contract academic staff fairly.
Women deserve the dignity and respect of equal treatment, to have themselves reflected in the social structures around us, and the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I’m so proud to be a post-secondary educator and to be part of the labour movement bringing us closer to that reality every day.
Happy International Women’s Day!
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 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.