International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s day, a time to celebrate women everywhere: to recognize women who inspire us all and to renew the discussion of gender equality in light of setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the pandemic intensified fundamental gaps in our society and disproportionately impacted those already marginalized, vulnerable, or struggling, these extraordinary times put a spotlight on the centrality of women in leadership.

UN Women announced that the theme for 2021’s International Women’s Day is, Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.

The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts made by women and girls around the world in shaping more equal futures and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burden women carry.

Women at Shelter Movers

At Shelter Movers, women are the central tenants of the operation. They make up the majority of volunteers and employees, providing a unique and fundamental perspective to the issue of gender based violence (GBV). Notably, the resilience of the survivors we work with, made up of women from all walks of life, provide us with fuel to combat the steep increase in GBV cases.

Women and the pandemic

The burden of the pandemic is on women’s shoulders, privately and publicly. Involuntary and voluntary stay at home mothers are silently dealing with excessive care-work. Nurses, community service providers, elder-care workers, and store clerks made up predominantly of diverse women are continuing to put themselves on the frontlines without public recognition, a risk to themselves and others.

Although some are making headlines, such as Canada’s 10 chief medical officers, inaccurate representation in public policy continues to limit the potential of the healthcare system. Systemic barriers, gender bias, discrimination, and gender stereotypes continue to hold women back in social, economic, and health policy making,which consequently limit the diversity of innovators trying to find solutions to COVID-19 and its effects.

Women in leadership

There is significant research to suggest that both gender and racial diversity are correlated with stronger business performance. The majority of countries that have been more successful in stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic and responding to its health and broader socio-economic impacts, are headed by women.

For instance, Heads of Government in Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Slovakia have been widely recognized for the rapidity, decisiveness and effectiveness of their national response to COVID-19, as well as the compassionate communication of fact-based public health information.

Women in leadership have set examples in the pandemic has been rooted in empathy, and solidarity, breaking masculinized stereotypes around leadership, and offering unique perspectives unseen in homogeneous think groups. 

Their approaches are effective and realistic. They focus on being upfront and considerate, without downplaying the reality of the crisis— in stark contrast to their male counterparts. Their successful responses to the pandemic pave a more equitable future where vaccines are shared across borders and vulnerable populations are supported. They are trail blazers and are precedents for the potential of women leadership.

International Women’s Day in Canada

There is a variety of programming focused on International Women’s Day from businesses and organizations throughout the country. 

Canada’s Feminist Response and Recovery Summit, hosted by the Government of Canada on March 8 and 9, 2021, will bring together politicians, experts, feminist leaders and those with lived experience to examine how COVID-19 is impacting the lives of women in Canada.

It will focus on the steps that governments, civil society and all Canadians can take to ensure an inclusive recovery by advancing gender equality.

The Summit will emphasize the key issues faced by black and racialized women, indigenious women, women with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, Senior women, women in rural and remote areas, immigrant women, and young women impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through presentations and interactive sessions, attendees will examine how Canada’s response and recovery can help advance gender equality and grow the economy over the long term.

Take March 8th to fully appreciate the women you surround yourself with and research the women pioneers that are spearheading the fight against COVID-19!

Be sure to follow us and your local Shelter Movers chapter on our social channels to stay up to date with news around fighting gender-based violence, events, and how you can help!

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