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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

By: Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer | March 03, 2021

International Women’s Day, marked on March 8 each year, has been celebrated internationally for many decades. It is an opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made as a society towards achieving gender equality and to renew our commitment to advancing gender equality, here in Canada, and around the world. 

International Women’s Day also reminds us of the inequity and barriers many women continue to face, especially in the age of COVID-19. It is fitting that the official United Nations’ theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” The theme celebrates the efforts made by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and leading the recovery from the pandemic. 

Women have been serving on the front lines of the pandemic, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers, government leaders as well as lawyers, paralegals, and members of the judiciary. COVID-19 has highlighted both the uniqueness of their contributions to society and the disproportionate and compounding burdens that women carry. Statistics show that the pandemic and its economic fallout have had a regressive effect on gender equality. Across the world, more women, especially women of colour, Indigenous women, and low-income women, are facing increased risks of violence, including domestic violence and intimate partner violence, exploitation, abuse, unemployment, and poverty.  People who were already in economically unstable positions, including senior women and transgender and gender-diverse peoples, become even more vulnerable during times of crisis and isolation. We know that the pandemic has had and will continue to have a major impact on the health and well-being of many vulnerable groups. Women tend to be the most heavily affected. We all have a responsibility to reduce the existing gender inequalities. International Women’s Day, especially in a midst of a global pandemic, reminds us of that duty.  

Accordingly, I invite you to attend our International Women’s Day program, hosted in collaboration with the Ontario Bar Association, Ontario Paralegal Association, Women’s Law Association of Ontario (WLAO), Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, as part of the Law Society’s Equity Education Series. This year’s event takes place on March 4 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Speakers will share their unique experiences, challenges, success stories, and strategies to better accommodate and support women, with perspective ranging from newly called licensees to the judiciary. Please note that this program is free of charge has been accredited for 1 hour and 30 minutes of EDI Professionalism content. You can learn more about the program and register here

Conversations being held, like the one on March 4, inspire meaningful action to build a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive society. The Law Society is grateful for the continuous partnership with all of its justice sector partners and their commitment and work in advancing issues and causes relevant to women in the legal professions, promoting equity initiatives, and forging bonds among women lawyers and paralegals.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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