International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe every March 8th. International Women’s Day is a celebration of the contributions of women to society, especially in politics, culture, economics and other areas traditionally closed to women or where the achievements of women were ignored. IWD is also a chance to focus on the continuing battle for gender equality.
The inequality of opportunity for women, and of course outcome, is unacceptable in modern democracies, and worse in other parts of the world. According to the United Nations, “Today, gender inequality is rife: 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime; 830 women die every day from preventable pregnancy-related causes; and only 1 in 4 parliamentarians worldwide are women. It will be 2086 before we close the gender pay gap if present trends continue with no action.” Those are just a fraction of the statistics which demonstrate the continuing need to stand up against inequality.
The struggle for women’s rights is a struggle for human rights. All people, men as well as women, should stand together and demand change.
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It is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. We take time this week to celebrate some of our fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom to read whatever we choose to read. As citizens of a liberal democracy, we require access to information and ideas, free from state interference or censorship. Take some time this week to reflect on your Freedom to Read.
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The Lunar New Year begins this Friday. It is known by many names around the world, including the Spring Festival; the Lantern Festival, Chinese New Year; Shogatsu (Japan); Tet (Vietnam); Seolial (Korea); and many other New Year’s observances in Asia. People in Canada, especially people of Asian descent, will join with people around the world to celebrate the Year of the Dog.
Find out more:
- Lunar New Years Around the World
- CBC Vancouver
- Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver
- Vancouver Parade
- Lunar New Year Festival
American Suffragist Susan B. Anthony was born on this day in 1820. Anthony is considered to be one of the foremost figures in the 19th Century struggle for women’s rights and equality. She was also a heavily involved in the abolition movement, fighting against the horrific institution of slavery.
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Pro baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson was born on this day in 1919. An outstanding player who would go on to win MVP awards and Championships, Robinson will forever be remembered as the first African-American to play Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. He stood up to unspeakable racism with dignity and grace. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of his breaking the colour barrier, Major League Baseball retired Jackie’s number, 42.
In 2005 the United Nations designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The term “Holocaust” refers to the period in history in which the Nazi regime of Germany murdered over 6 million Jews, as well as millions of other victims, including Roma, homosexuals, people with physical and mental disabilities, and more. The Nazi persecution of the Jews began in the early 1930’s and reached its most horrific and brutal peak during the period of 1941-1945, as the Nazis adopted as official policy the “Final Solution,” the attempt at completely annihilating the entire Jewish population.
The Holocaust is not the only example of genocide in human history. What makes the Holocaust stand out amongst the long and plentiful list of human atrocities and evil? Germany was amongst the most powerful nations of the world and a leader in science, technology, medicine and engineering. The German contributions to art, music, literature and philosophy put German culture at the heart of what we would call Western Civilization. And yet this supposedly civilized people turned their great achievements and progress towards planning and carrying out ruthless genocidal murder with scientific and economic efficiency.
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The beloved Scottish poet was born on this day in 1759. From Scotland to all parts of the world where you will find people with Scottish roots,”Burns Night” is not just a celebration of the man, but also of Scottish heritage.
“‘Burns Night‘, also termed a ‘Burns Supper,’is a celebration of the life and works of the poet Robert Burns; Scottish by birth and held in fond regard by Scots all over the world, his life and poetry speak to the struggles common to all people. It is an evening of food, drink, entertainment, and friendship. It is an event that transcends time, geographical borders, political, and religious beliefs to bring people together in celebration of the everyman.” (From burnsnight.net)
For more information on Robbie Burns and “Burns Night”:
Sikhs in Canada and around the world observe the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh who was born in 1666 in Patna, India. He was the 10th and last of the (human) Gurus of Sikhism. He established the Khalsa, the organization of men and women baptized into the Sikh faith. He also established the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhism, as the final Guru for the Sikh people. For more on Guru Gobind Singh and the Sikh faith, check out some of the following links: