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Calls to action: OISE faculty reflect on International Women’s Day

By Perry King

March 6, 2020

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity and equality.

To recognize that call to action, OISE News asked a number of its faculty a singular question:

What is one action someone should undertake while recognizing International Women's Day?

This is what they had to say.

Carol Campbell
Associate Professor, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education

Powerful ways to support someone are to truly value them and to treat them with respect. On International Women's Day, we often champion and celebrate notable, influential women from the present and past who provide inspirational role models demonstrating what women and girls can achieve.

It is equally important, however, to also take the time to acknowledge and specifically thank the women in your daily life who make a positive difference – the everyday sheroes who make our world a better place.

Katreena Scott
Professor, Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development

Achieving gender equity will require that unpaid care work be shared equally between men and women and valued by both. The State of the Worlds Fathers report 2019 points out that, worldwide, there remains an expectation that caring is womens work and that mens role as breadwinner should largely exempt them from equal responsibility for unpaid household work.

Although the unpaid care gap between men and women is decreasing, the rate of decrease is extremely slow at an average of only seven minutes a day across a 15-year timespan. No country is currently achieving gender equity in contribution to unpaid work.

This International Womens Day, men – do your fair share of unpaid work. For the average man, this means contributing 50 minutes more unpaid work to your family today (and they keep it up).

Lana Stermac 
Professor, Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development

International Womens Day is about accelerating gender equality. On this day ask yourself what you have done to promote equality for women in your life and around the world. The 2020 theme of #EachforEqual calls for collective individualism to challenge stereotypes, fight bias and strive for safety and equality. We can all speak up and share responsibility for change to create a gender equal and enabled world.

Miglena Todorova
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Justice Education
Director, Centre for Media, Culture and Education

Let's make every day Women's Day by addressing the grim statistics of violence against women globally. According to the United Nations, 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced sexual violence.

In 2017 alone, 87,000 women globally were intentionally killed by intimate partners or family members. In Canada, 6,000 women and their children stay in shelters every given night because it is not safe at home. We must face these realities together, as a society committed to life where all persons prosper not only on March 8th but every day.

Njoki Wane
Chair and Professor, Department of Social Justice Education

'I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own,' said Audre Lorde. We lament about the glories of the past. We should only do that if we intend to do something about it – that is, emulate the organizing principles of the past, and take action.

'No matter how long the night, dawn will come,’ says an African proverb. ‘No matter how long it will take, one day all of us (women and marginalized groups) will be free.’ We (activists) cannot afford to relax until there is some semblance of equity and equality in the world. It’s not enough for one person to be mentally, physically and economically free when their next door neighbour is not free.”


Other OISE news 

Meet two OISE scholars who are working to build a more just and equitable future for women

International Women’s Day: Powerhouse team of OISE women selected to research STEM curriculum

International Woman’s Day: “Which woman inspires you?”