December 6th - the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women - is meant to mark the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal and to spark the development of concrete solutions in eliminating violence against women. This has not happened. In Canada and around the world, women, girls, LGBTQ2 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two spirit) and gender diverse individuals face unacceptable violence and discrimination. Gender-based violence in Canada has only intensified throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been reports from police services and shelters of an increase in calls related to gender-based violence across Canada during the pandemic.

The fact that these murderers targeted women is an act of misogyny (hatred of women), and the fact that these acts continue to occur 30 years from the proclamation of the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women is appalling.

But women are speaking out against misogyny, and fortunately, people are listening. Meaningful and important expressions of support, like ‘I believe you’ are growing and increasingly, allies are offering solidarity to end the violence.

SEIU-West encourages you to join the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which began International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 and ends on International Human Rights Day on December 10. It also includes today’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The 16 Days of Activism is a time to both reflect on violence against women and to take action to end it.

SEIU-West stands against violence, and actively equips women with the tools to empower themselves, corresponding to an integral part of changing this system of misogyny. Having a voice at work can translate into a powerful tool; it can lend a hand in recognizing the strength that is women. If you’re an SEIU-West member experiencing gender-based violence, be sure to contact our Member Resource Centre (MRC) as we have trained professionals able to assist you. Together, we are stronger in demanding action to end the violence.

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