On March 8, International Women’s Day, we recognize and celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977, the day originated from women’s participation in twentieth century North American and European labour movements. Since then, International Women’s Day has become a global opportunity to recognize the many achievements of women and girls, to celebrate advancements in gender parity, and importantly, a global call to action.
From fighting climate change, to contributing to advancements in STEM and spearheading political action, women are leading change in every aspect of our society. They are also nurturers and caregivers engaged in often less visible forms of work that support our families and communities. Yet, no country in the world has achieved gender equality. We continue to see gender-based violence, income disparity, discrimination, human rights violations, and a lack of women’s representation. These realities remind us why International Women’s Day remains important. Our collective voices and actions can create awareness and facilitate additional advancements in gender parity in all aspects of life.
U of T remains committed to inclusion and the elimination of barriers to full participation of women in University life. This responsibility requires that we understand how intersectionality impacts individual’s experiences. Indigenous and Black women, as well as racialized, LGBTQ+, and trans women, face particular and disproportionate challenges in life and the workplace. Listening to women and learning from their unique experiences enhances our knowledge about how to support women in achieving their full potential at the University. Critically, men as allies can also be champions of change and play a key part in accelerating gender equity.
Our tri-campus initiatives and Equity Offices continue to address systemic barriers and support our community members in fulfilling their academic, research and employment goals. The Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity Office, Family Care Office, Sexual & Gender Diversity Office, Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre, Community Safety Office, Integrated Wellness Unit and various divisional and campus equity offices also promote women’s wellbeing and provide support, services and education on gender-based discrimination and its intersectional manifestations to our community.
Strengthening our culture of inclusion is a shared responsibility that impacts everyone. I invite the University community to join me in celebrating this important day and continue to work together to make impactful progress.