Persons Day

“The  historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “persons” was handed  down by Canada’s highest court of appeal – the Judicial Committee of the Privy  Council of Great Britain – on October 18, 1929. This gave women the right to be  appointed to the Senate of Canada and paved the way for women’s increased  participation in public and political life.” (From Status of Women Canada: Persons Day.)

source: famous5ottawa.ca

It may seem incomprehensible to us that women were not considered to be “persons”, at least under a strict definition of Canadian law prior to 1929.  The “Famous Five” led the fight all the way to the highest courts of the land to include women in the legal definition of “persons.”

“The exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word  “person” should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it  not?”

–Lord Sankey of the Privy Council, 1929 (source)

Today we can celebrate that victory, and the slow but steady change in Canadian society towards equality for women.  We still have a long way to go, and sadly, in much the world, women are still denied equality, a “relic of days  more barbarous than ours.” Persons Day is a chance to celebrate how far we have come, and to reflect on how far we still need to go.

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International Day of the Girl

October 11th is International Day of the Girl.  From the United Nations:

There are 1.1 billion girls in the world, and every one of them deserves equal opportunities for a better future. They are a source of energy, power and creativity. They can drive change and help build a better future for all. Yet, most girls face disadvantage and discrimination on a daily basis, and those living through crises are suffering even more. (UN, 2017)

For more:

United Nations

Government of Canada

UNICEF

WHO

World Mental Health Day

From the World Health Organziation:

Depression and anxiety disorders are common mental disorders that have an impact on our ability to work, and to work productively. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, the leading cause of disability. More than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. Many of these people live with both. A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.

Mental health in the workplace is the theme of World Mental Health Day 2017. World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health. (WHO, 2017)

For more on World Mental Health Day:

Mental Health Commission of Canada

Government of Canada

World Federation for Mental Health

 

Banned Books Week

In the United States the American Library Association presents Banned Books Week, September 24 to 30. 

From the ALA: Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, will be held the week of September 24th in 2017. For this year’s celebration, the coalition of organizations that sponsors Banned Books Week will emphasize the importance of the First Amendment, which guarantees our inherent right to read.

People in Canada and around the world stand with Americans who are celebrating and standing up for their right to read. As Canadians we can also celebrate our rights, and learn more about what we need to do to protect those rights.

International Day of Peace

From the United Nations: Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”Find out more:

internationaldayofpeace.org

United Nations

UNESCO

International Day of Families

From the United Nations: “The International Day of Families is observed on the 15th of May every year.This year’s observance focuses on the role of families and family-oriented policies in promoting education and overall well-being of their members. In particular, the Day is to raise awareness of the role of families in promoting early childhood education and lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth.”  READ MORE

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day (actually celebrated on September 16). In fact, in Mexico itself Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday outside of the state of Puebla. However, this holiday is observed in a big way in the United States, particularly in states with high Mexican-American populations, such as California, Arizona and Texas. More and more Canadians are celebrating Cinco de Mayo as well, including those with Mexican roots and those without. Just as you don’t have to have Irish heritage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you don’t have to have Mexican heritage to join in on the fun of Cinco de Mayo!canada-mexico

Holocaust Memorial Day

By joe goldberg from Seattle, WA, USA (Half Mast) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
source: CC-BY-SA-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Also known as Yom HaShoah in Hebrew, this day is observed in Israel and in local communities throughout the Jewish Diaspora.  It is a secular holiday, separate from the holy days of mourning in the religious calendar of Judaism.

More than 6 million Jews perished in the Holocaust.

For more information:

Jewish Virtual Library

Times of Israel

Vancouver HEC