Each for Equal
March 8 is International Women's Day—a day to acknowledge that each of us can contribute to gender equality
By Wayne Prins, CLAC Executive Director
“All human beings are created equal.”
So begins one of the first statements found in our list of guiding principles in the CLAC Constitution. With this declaration, we have set for ourselves an obligation to relentlessly deconstruct every form of structural and behavioural injustice that offends this basic truth.
This applies to CLAC’s work with our members in their workplaces as well as to our own employees in their member centres. It should also extend to our personal lives and to the influence we each have to affect change. The power and beauty of the statement is in its simplicity. There is no room for interpretation. There are no exceptions. We are all equal. Period.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, and the theme this year is #EachforEqual. It’s beautifully aligned with everything CLAC stands for and serves as a great reminder that our work is not yet complete. As far as we’ve come, there are still many things to do, lessons to learn, and changes to make.
Each of us will have our own reasons to feel passionately about the pursuit of gender equality. For some, it may originate in a personal experience of being treated unfairly, or being the victim of discrimination. Others may have witnessed the consequences of subtle stereotypes or systemic biases toward someone else and felt powerless to change it. And for others it may be the discomfort or lingering guilt associated with being the recipient of undue advantages on account of someone else being discriminated against. Or it may simply be the desire to see an equal world for all.
Among the reasons for my own commitment to gender equality is the fact that I have two young daughters at home who have big dreams. They also have parents who have big dreams for them. I want the world they grow up in to be one that is safe and full of equal opportunity. My oldest daughter explained to me the other day, with great confidence, that she understands exactly how not to get pregnant: “You just eat so much food that there’s no room for a baby to grow!”
Clearly, my daughters have a few years to live and a few things to learn before their personal experience of gender equality becomes a factor. However, it’s never too early to begin empowering young girls with a deep-rooted belief and understanding that they are equal, in every day.
International Women’s Day is about acknowledging that each of us, through our thoughts and actions, can contribute to gender equality. It’s about celebrating the incredible contributions of women and choosing to challenge the biases and stereotypes around us that affect them. It’s doing everything we can to ensure no one is held back from an opportunity or is ever treated unfairly because of their gender.
I am all in for equal. Are you?