In case you didn't know, today is International Women's Day, an over a century-old celebration of women and the role they have played in shaping modern day society. Commemorated around the world, International Women's Day will be celebrated in our fair city today, and especially tonight, for the International Women’s Day march.
Montreal is often heralded as the liberal capital of Canada, a place in which equality reigns supreme. Unfortunately, that isn't quite the case, and that is why hundreds of Quebec women will be taking to the streets of Downtown Montreal to showcase how more needs to be done in the city (and province at-large) to foster true equality.
One need only look to the leaders of Montreal as a municipality to recognize the clear gender gap that exists in the city.
Out of the entire staff of the City of Montreal, only 38% are women, as noted in a recent JdM feature. Women only make up 1/3 of the city's executive committee and of the 19 borough mayors in Montreal, only 4 are women. It gets worse when you look at all of Quebec, with only 17% of the province's mayors being women.
“The decision-making power is still in the hands of elected males” a fact eloquently stated by Valérie Plante, a Ville Marie councillor who spoke with The Gazette on the issue of the representation of women in Montreal's governance
Somewhat fortunately, the City of Montreal and its mayor have recognized this problem, and are working towards closing the gender gap in Montreal. Still, promising change isn't the same thing as enacting measures to ensure equality.
But beyond the employment figures of the City of Montreal, women in Quebec face challenges and disadvantages men simply don't experience. And this is one of the reasons why there will be a march held tonight, to remind everyone (and not simply municipal/provincial leaders) that more needs to be done to create a truly egalitarian society.
The International Women'd Day March begins tonight at 6pm at Cabot Square by Atwater Station, a "demonstration open to all women and their allies-fighting austerity, islamophobia, racism, capitalism, imperialism and for a better world." You can find out more at the Facebook event here.
There's also a free Krav Maga class being held tonight for anyone looking to freshen up on their self defence.