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December 6: National Day of Rememberance and Action on Violence Against Women

December 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada.

Today we remember the 14 women engineering students killed by a gunman at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal on December 6, 1989; killed only because they were women. This incident of gender-based violence moved Canadians to demand that we, as Canadians, prevent such tragedies from happening again.

Violence against women can be seen as a manifestation of inequality between women and men. The majority of workers earning minimum wage are women, and women in Canada earn just 72 per cent as much as men do. Aboriginal and racialized women make even less. Decreased wages and diminished opportunities both contribute to violence and are themselves a form of economic violence against women.

At the same time, 83 per cent of all police-reported domestic assaults are against women. On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence. Aboriginal women bear the consequences of marginalization by being Aboriginal and by being women. While Aboriginal women make up only 3 per cent of Canada’s female population, they make up 10 per cent of all murdered women.

Today, as we commemorate the loss on December 6, 1989, we also remember the countless women and girls subjected to gender-based violence, in all its forms, at home, in the workplace and elsewhere. We remember that, though we commit ourselves to ending gender-based violence, this violence still occurs every single day and we must help end it.

Here are some other actions you can take to make a difference:

    • Support the YWCA’s Rose Campaign (www.rosecampaign.ca) and/or the White Ribbon Campaign (www.whiteribbon.ca)
    • Support The Society’s Sisters in Society committee, which addresses women’s issues in the workplace and other communities
    • Speak up when you see or hear of violence in your community
    • Place responsibility for violence on the perpetrator not the victim and help each get the help they need
    • Contribute to creating safe spaces for women and girls in your home, workplace and community
    • Advocate with women and girls for the economic and political equality
    • Organize women