On International Women's Day, Canadians participate in a worldwide celebration of women, peace and human rights. Canada's theme for International Women's Day 2013 is Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence against Women.
As this theme suggests, violence against women affects us all, and everyone – men and women – must be part of the solution.
On International Women's Day 2013, we call on all Canadians to work together to end violence against women. Violence is not just a women's issue: men have key roles to play in making our country safe for everyone.
A survey for the White Ribbon Campaign found 75% of men felt it was very important to speak out on violence against women, and 66% felt they could be doing more.
Canada's theme aligns with United Nations Commission on the Status of Women's theme for its 57th session, Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. The meeting will take place in New York from March 4 to 15, 2013.
On International Women's Day and throughout International Women's Week 2013 (Sunday, March 3 to Saturday, March 9), join Canadians from coast to coast as we reflect on the impacts of violence against women and commit to helping end it.
The idea for an International Women's Day arose out of a long-standing movement for women to participate equally in society. Each year, at this time, Canadians participate in a worldwide celebration of women, and advances made toward equality.
Take this quiz to learn about the history of International Women's Day.
Violence against women is a reality for many Canadians. Take this quiz to see how much you know about this issue facing Canadians.
In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on member states to proclaim a day for women's rights and international peace. Following the United Nations' lead, Canada chose March 8 as International Women's Day.
Each year at this time, Canadians celebrate progress toward equality for women and their full participation, reflect on the challenges and barriers that remain, and consider future steps to achieving equality for all women, in all aspects of their lives.
Over time, International Women's Day has grown into a week-long series of commemorative events and activities across the country. International Women's Week 2013 begins on Sunday, March 3, and wraps up on Saturday, March 9.
We encourage all Canadians — women and men, girls and boys — to promote International Women's Day / International Women's Week. Better yet, why not organize your own event in your community, organization or workplace?
The idea for an International Women's Day arose around the turn of the 20th century out of a long-standing movement for women to participate equally in society.
The first International Women's Day was observed on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. That day, more than one million women and men showed their support by participating in public events. Between 1913 and 1917, women in Russia and elsewhere in Europe began to celebrate the day as well.
Over time, International Women's Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration. The theme was expanded by the United Nations in 1975 with the International Women's Year. By 1977, the United Nations had adopted a resolution designating March 8 as International Women's Day. Today, International Women's Day is a national holiday in many countries and celebrated in many more.
Each year, March 8 and the week of March 8 provide an opportunity to take stock of our progress towards gender equality and to honour the contributions women have made and are making — both in Canada and around the world.
The Government of Canada's theme for 2012 was Strong Women. Strong Canada. Women in Rural, Remote and Northern Communities: Key to Canada's Economic Prosperity.
IWD 2012 provides the opportunity for us to recognize women's roles in the economic prosperity of rural, remote and Northern regions. During the week of March 8, 2012, we are celebrating the three million Canadian women and girls across every province and territory who are integral to life in these rural, remote and Northern communities. Women and girls are contributing to economic prosperity in these regions through innovative projects such as business networks and training in non-traditional occupations. Leadership initiatives for women and girls in rural and remote areas can also be found across the country.
The Government of Canada's theme for 2011 was Girls' Rights Matter.
The theme for International Women's Day and Week 2011 focuses on the importance of equality and access to opportunity for all girls and women throughout their lives. This theme encourages us to reflect on the situation of girls in Canada, and to look beyond women's relative privilege domestically, to the international context. This theme also connects to the United Nations theme for International Women's Day 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women. A girl who enjoys equality has a greater likelihood of being self-confident and aware of her own potential, and of being empowered to access the education, training and career opportunities that will contribute to her success in life.
The Government of Canada's theme for 2010 was Strong Women. Strong Canada. Strong World.
This theme reflects the government's action to encourage more women and girls to participate in leadership roles, thereby helping them thrive, reach their full potential, fulfill their dreams and build a more prosperous Canada.
Canada's theme for International Women's Day/Week 2009 was Strong Leadership. Strong Women. Strong World: Equality.
The theme reflects the government's firm belief that increasing women's participation and access to leadership roles and opportunities will help women and girls thrive, reach their full potential and fulfill their dreams, and help build a more prosperous Canada.
Canada's theme for International Women's Day / International Women's Week 2008 was (IWD /IWW 2008) Strong Women, Strong World.
This theme draws in part from one of the fundamental beliefs underlying the modern women's movement, that "a woman's place in society marks the level of civilization of that society." This refers not only to the empowerment of women as a means to bring about positive and fundamental social change but to the critical roles that women play as leaders, policy-makers, caregivers, educators, and international peacemakers. The theme also draws from the fact that empowered women can, and do, play a fundamental role in current and future efforts to preserve and protect the world's natural environment.
Ending Violence Against Women: Action for Real Results was Canada's theme for International Women's Day (IWD) 2007. This theme reflects Canada's approach to addressing gender-based violence.
IWD 2007 provides an opportunity to focus our collective attention on violence against women and girls in Canadian society and to consider concrete measures to end this social problem.
Now more than ever, we must take action to end violence so that women and girls are able to participate fully in society.
This year, as we affirm our commitment to ending violence against women, let us also celebrate the women of Canada, past and present, and their vital role in making this one of the greatest countries in the world. IWW 2007 is a perfect time to celebrate Canada, where women and men enjoy equal rights in all aspects of life.
The Canadian theme for International Women's Week 2006 was "Beyond Laws: The Right to be Me", which addresses women's rights, women's diversity and the need to put words into action.
2006 marks the 25th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the most comprehensive international treaty on women's rights, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
The law guarantees women and men equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities in all aspects of Canadian life. Much has been accomplished to put into place legal foundations such as the Canadian Human Rights Act, pay and employment equity laws, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and maternity and parental benefits.
Despite these legal foundations, a gap remains between laws and the reality of women's lives. Many issues from the past, such as violence and poverty, have not been resolved. Today, as women join the labour force in record numbers, raise families and participate in their communities, barriers remain. These barriers keep women, whether they are Aboriginal women, women with disabilities, lesbians, single women, lone parents or women living in poverty, from realizing their full potential.
The Canadian theme for International Women's Day/Week 2005 was " You Are Here: Women, Canada and the World "
In Beijing in 1995, member nations of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women met to map out guidelines for measuring progress on achieving gender equality. At Beijing +5, in 2000, they met again to review their progress, achievements and explore strategies to accelerate action.
Beijing +10 will bring together those member nations in New York to continue to discuss future approaches towards gender equality. Representatives will also present their country's progress over the past ten years in such areas as human rights, violence against women and girls, health, unpaid work, poverty and women's diversity. .
Our progress towards gender equality can be considered a continuing journey. Our destination is clear but our route remains a challenge. This year's theme encourages Canadians to consider how far we have come and prepare for the sometimes difficult journey ahead. We can chart our course by measuring the impact of past achievements in our daily lives and by sharing our experiences with each other. It also encourages Canadians to join in the journey towards gender equality and help to map out enduring strategies for achieving it.
The Canadian theme for International Women's Day/Week 2004 was "She's on a Role!"
Many Canadian women, from athletes to social activists, have accomplished great things in their community, country and around the world. Some of these women receive little recognition for their efforts, yet provide shining examples for Canadians and Canadian youth in particular to follow their dreams, no matter what barriers and opposition they may face. This year's theme encourages Canadians to take a closer look at what has been accomplished to promote gender equality and build Canada into the country it is today, as well as celebrating the many women who continue to work towards these goals.
The Canadian theme for International Women's Day/Week 2003 was "World-Wide Women (WWW): Surfing the Digital Revolution!".
The Canadian theme for International Women's Day/Week 2002 was "Working in Solidarity: Women, Human Rights and Peace"