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BCGEU celebrates International Women’s Day for an Equal and Enabled world

March 8th is International Women's Day (IWD), a time to recognize the remarkable achievements by women across the globe and stand in solidarity with calls for decisive action to promote gender justice and end gender-based violence and discrimination. The global theme this year is #EachforEqual An EQUAL World is an ENABLED World.

"As an out and proud feminist who has the privilege to be surrounded by legions of like-minded activists, advocates and allies, I see every day as a fresh opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and advance the fight for gender equality," said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. "International Women's Day is a reminder of the power of collective action to end harassment, discrimination, bullying, and gender-based violence in our workplaces, and our communities. Every day I see so much great work being done and so much progress being made. And every day I see heart-breaking examples of how much further we have to go to build the world we want."

In 1911, International Women's Day was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. In New York City, the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire took the lives of 146 workers most of them women immigrants in their teens and twenties. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation that became a focus of subsequent International Women's Day events.

"Unions have always had a unique perspective and a unique voice in the fight for gender justice," said Smith. "As union activists, our goals are simple but never easy. We can build an equal and enabled world only by fighting in solidarity for and with all women regardless of their race, physical or mental ability, socio-economic class, where they live, who they love or what sex they were assigned at birth. We must lift as we climb to get where we want to go."

The BCGEU's commitment to end gender-based violence includes being the only union in Canada to submit a report to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Our submission Naut'sa mawt sqwaluwun: Working together with one mind and one heart was based on the perspectives of our front-line workers.

Our union also lobbied provincial and federal decision-makers on a range of issues that would improve the lives of all women including investment for quality, affordable child care; equal pay for work of equal value; and, paid leave for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, which prompted the provincial government to introduce a bill to provide five days of paid leave for survivors and their families on March 3, 2020.

This International Women's Day we hope you will take time to connect with your families, your communities and your union locals and take action in support of gender equity in your community. Join one of the IWD events listed below or organize your own. Please contact your local labour council or women's organizations to locate events in your area.

Period Promise (March 9 – March 23)

BCGEU is proud to once again support the United Way’s campaign Period Promise to end period poverty. The BCGEU is a proud signatory to the United Way Period Promise campaign and we now have free menstrual products available in all of our area offices for our members and guests.  But we want to do more! From March 9 to March 23rd, we’ll be part of a province-wide drive for menstrual products to help end period poverty. All BCGEU area offices and HQ will have donation boxes for you to bring your donations of menstrual products during the month of March

International Women's Day 2020 Events


March 6 - Capilano Student's Union Women's Day Political Panel 6 p.m. Reception, 6:30 p.m. Women in Politics Panel, CapU Lonsdale at The Shipyards, 125 Victory Ship Way #250, North Vancouver. Political panel discussing challenges, intricacies and opportunities of being a woman in B.C. politics, municipalities, and the legislature. Speakers: Libby Davies, Jane Thornthwaite, Bowinn Ma, Megan Curren.

March 8 - VDLC International Women's Day Dinner 5:15 p.m. – 10 p.m., Fraserview Banquet Hall, 8240 Fraser Street, Vancouver.

The theme of the evening will be 'Joy & Justice' with guest speaker April Sims, Secretary Treasurer for the Washington State Labour Council, AFL-CIO.

March 8 - City of Vancouver Archives, 1150 Chestnut, Vancouver. Celebrate International Women's Day (March 8) at the opening of An Army of Lovers, a retrospective look at lesbian activism in the '70s & '80s. A retrospective on lesbians, two spirit, and trans folks who gave their heart and soul to building a better world.

New Westminster

March 10 – Period, Politics & Beyond! 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Douglas College, 700 Royal Avenue, New Westminster. Hear from advocates, community organizers and entrepreneurs about advancing menstrual equity in British Columbia. Please bring tampons, pads and/or other menstrual supplies for donation to the Period Promise Campaign, which will be distributed to local women's shelters.


March 8 - International Women's Day 1:20 p.m. Library Strawberry Hills, 7399 122nd Street, Surrey Speakers include: Nilda Copa - Movement Towards Socialism (MAS - Bolivia), Aishe Ghosh (JNU Students' Union - India), Oscar Ortiz (FMLN - El Salvador).


March 8 - International Women's Day: Women & Girls Making a Difference for the Environment  

1 p.m. – 3 p.m., St. Margaret's School, 1080 Lucas Avenue, Victoria
Join keynote speaker Elizabeth May and four other dynamic women as they offer their perspectives on what we can do as individuals to address the urgency of climate change.


March 6 - Wikipedia Editathon in celebration of International Women's Day 12 p.m.- 3 p.m., Nanaimo Museum, 100 Museum Way, Nanaimo As Wikipedia contributors and editors we can make positive change and help to create a gender equal world by challenging stereotypes, fighting bias, broadening perceptions, and celebrating women's achievements, and by doing this work informed by feminist ethics such as ethics of care. No previous editing skills or Wikipedia knowledge required

Prince George

March 7 - International Woman's Day Breakfast  8:30 a.m. Coast Inn of the North, 770 Brunswick St, Prince George

North Central Woman's Committee will be hosting our annual breakfast to celebrate woman. Breakfast will be served at 9 a.m. Tickets are $30 each. Please contact Natalie @250-613-9408 for tickets. Once again we will have a delicious breakfast, amazing speakers and door prizes!