UNA members mark International Women’s Day

Saturday is International Women’s Day, celebrated by women and men alike throughout the world.

As members of a profession in which women predominate, nurses are especially conscious of the need to continue the effort everywhere to secure justice and equality for girls and women that International Women’s Day symbolizes, says UNA President Heather Smith.

The United Nations theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is “equality for women is progress for all.”

UNA emphasizes equality for all working people regardless of gender in its representation of its members and in the broader positions it takes in society.

“International Women’s Day is an occasion that began with the trade union movement and the struggle for workers rights, which are the same as women’s rights,” Smith said. “It is entirely appropriate that unions like United Nurses of Alberta should carry on this work when there is still so much to do in Alberta and Canada, and throughout the world.”

“On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of all women, regardless of national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political differences,” Smith added. “It is a great opportunity for all of us, regardless of our gender, to look ahead to the potential and future opportunities that our sisters, daughters and granddaughters can experience.”

The origins of International Women’s Day have been traced to labour disputes in New York City in 1857 and 1908, where workers protested the dangerous, overcrowded and exploitive working conditions of women in the garment industry.

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in 1911. In 1977, the United Nations urged all countries to set aside a day to celebrate women’s rights. 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. 30