Statement by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on International Women’s Day
March 08, 2017 - Ottawa, ON - Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today issued the following statement:
"International Women's Day is an occasion to recognize the achievements of women and girls. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the remaining obstacles to gender equality.
“Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is #EqualityMatters. As a nation, we have made great strides towards gender equality. Not that long ago, women were still fighting hard to achieve some of our most basic rights – the right to enter into legal agreements, the right to buy property, the right to vote in provincial and federal elections, the right to equal pay, and even the right to be recognized as “persons” under the law. For Indigenous women, these rights came even later. Indeed, up until 1960, an Indigenous woman like me would not have been able to vote in a federal election, let alone run for office or be a lawyer, without giving up her status.
“The struggle for women’s rights has been and continues to be a struggle for human rights. And as we prepare to mark the 35th anniversary of the Charter on April 17, we can celebrate how all rights covered under the Charter apply equally to all. We can recognize the Charter’s importance in ensuring the equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination based on sex, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, age, or mental or physical disability.
“Still, many women and girls continue to face injustices and discrimination here in Canada and around the world. In particular, sexual assaults continue to be among of the most prevalent human rights abuses, and the victims of these crimes are predominantly women and girls. Indigenous women and girls are over represented as victims of crime and within our prison system. Our Government is working hard to find solutions to these realities and to improve our criminal justice system so that it better protects all Canadians, our communities and our rights.
“As a proud Indigenous woman, I believe we should all celebrate our cultures, our histories and our stories. My nation, Kwakwaka'wakw, the Kwak'wala-speaking peoples of northern Vancouver Island, is a matrilineal society. My grandmother, Pugladee, raised me to know who I am, to know where I come from and to recognize the rights and responsibilities that our people have in Canada. My upbringing, my education, my professional and personal experiences have all shaped my world view. Part of that world view is that all women and men in all of our diversity deserve equal security and freedom to choose our own path and to reach our full potential. On International Women’s Day 2017, I invite all Canadians to join me in working toward true gender equality in our society and around the world.”
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