UNA marks International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, a day for celebrating women’s achievement but also for raising awareness about discrimination in Canada and around the world and taking action to achieve gender equality.

“Nurses are particularly conscious of the need to continue the effort to secure justice and equality for girls and women,” said Heather Smith, president of United Nurses of Alberta.

“The Alberta government’s recent decision to opt out of a national pharmacare program that would cover the costs of contraception shows we still have a long way to go to achieve equitable access to health care for women,” said Smith.

“Today, while we celebrate International Women’s Day, we must also continue to empower women and girls around the world to transform their lives, their families, and their communities,” Smith said. “Whether it is reproductive rights, trans rights, or fair pay, the struggle to achieve gender equality in Canada is far from over.”

Bread and Roses

International Women’s Day has its roots in women’s activism for better working conditions and the vote in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. An international women’s day was first marked in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

The anthem of International Women’s Day is Bread & Roses, associated with the strike in 1912 by more than 20,000 textile workers, women and immigrants, in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

It is now marked around the world on March 8 and the need remains great, and is again growing, to continue this struggle.

The symbols of International Women’s Day are bread and roses – the bread representing women’s struggle for economic equality and the roses their women’s continuing efforts for a better quality of life.