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International Women’s Day: Tuesday, March 8

Tuesday, March 8 is International Women’s Day, celebrating the progress of women. Over the last year, we have seen continued growth in our world towards greater equality, justice, and meaning for the lives of female identified people.

Women and girls are courageously claiming their space and becoming a visible presence in the public domain. Through their social, economic, cultural and political achievements, they are boldly demonstrating a collective response to ending poverty and violence.

The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality. We do indeed need to step up as a global community to strengthen commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights. We must re-commit daily to end violence against women in all its forms.

We can become aware of this in Canada through witnessing the struggles of Indigenous Women throughout their lands. In their daily lives, these women encounter multiple layers of violence that continue to threaten their existence, well-being and spirituality. Yet, even in adversity, there is cause to celebrate.

Here in Canada, Indigenous Women’s leadership informs us that gender equality is a compass to how we share our world. They are tackling issues of identity, culture, empowerment and opportunity through land defence, risking their liberties to stop the environmental impact of pipeline construction and shale gas mining.

Raising their voices, they are demanding self-determination, equality and eco-justice for the land. They are reminding us that the struggles of women are indivisible from the destruction of planetary eco-systems. To revere one is to love the other. They are sharing the wisdom that their healing — the healing of the global community — is intrinsically connected to the healing of our wounded Earth.

On this International Women’s Day, join us, the Sisters of St Joseph of Toronto, in our Shared Ministerial Commitment to “nurture community with our neighbour, especially with... women at risk, and our wounded Earth.” Together, let us declare our intention to end violence against women. Let us raise up the many courageous women who are beacons of hope to us all and who reflect so clearly our interconnectedness with all creation.

Written in memory of Berta Caceres, Indigenous leader and environmental activist in Honduras who was murdered last week. She gave her life for the world.

How to Learn More

  • Find out more about Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality at UNwomen.org.
  • Read reports on the impact of resource extraction on Indigenous Women from the Nobel Women’s Initiative at their website.
  • Read about the women behind the Idle No More movement, bringing peaceful action around many issues faced by indigenous communities in this article.
  • Visit RAVEN TRUST, the website of a non-profit charitable organization that provides financial resources to assist Aboriginal Nations within Canada in lawfully challenging industrial impact on the earth.
  • Indigenous Environmental Network embodies the global struggle for climate, earth and treaty justice. Their site contains great info and news on what’s happening in Canada and abroad.

Join the Conversation

You can join the conversation on International Women’s Day on both Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #IWD2016. Here is an example of tweets or messages you could send: 

#IWD2016 Address the immediate climate change impacts on indigenous women’s livelihoods, territories and rights.

Write a Letter of Support

Celebration is better when it’s shared and when we do, we create lasting fellowships and support relationships. Indigenous women engaged in the protection of themselves and our planet would love to hear from you on International Women’s Day. Collectively, we can write to a broad network of land defenders through RAVEN TRUST.

Click here for a sample letter with postal information.


raven_trust_sample_letter.pdf98.86 KB


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