Hannah Rudderham
Hannah Rudderham
March 24, 2020

Women’s Rights: Where Are They Now?

Photo by Michelle Ding on Unsplash

It’s been 32 years since ALL women in Canada were granted full voting rights. 

Only 32 years.

In 1960, Aboriginal Canadians no longer had to give up their treaty rights and renounce their status under the Indian Act to qualify to vote.

And up until 1988, mentally disabled Canadians didn’t have the right to vote. That means it’s only been 32 years. 

British Columbia passed legislation to give women six weeks maternity leave before and after birth in 1921, but no other provinces followed suit with a maternity leave until decades afterwards.

In 1987, systemic discrimination in the hiring of women is found to be unlawful.

The first official International Women’s Day occurred in 1911 on March 19 (now on March 8), but women still couldn’t vote.

Every minute, 28 underage girls are married off.

One in three women experienced sexual or physical violence. 

How many countries don’t have laws in place to ensure equal pay? 113. 

How many countries have jobs that are off-limit to females? 104.

People say we’ve come so far with bridging the gap between rights for a man and rights for a woman, but looking at the statistics, it’s shocking how much further we have to go. 

I mean, it wasn’t until 1991 that marital rape was made illegal. And it took until 2018 to legislate employers with more than 250 staff members to report salary figures for both men and women.

But, we have made progress and progress is good. 

One-hundred years ago, women couldn’t serve on a jury, or open a bank account; we were also allowed to be refused service at a pub for spending our own hard-earned money.

We couldn’t become an accountant or a lawyer. But as of 2016, there were 43,595 practicing female lawyers in Canada—that means women make up almost half of all lawyers in the country. The same goes for women in accounting positions—women make up 50 percent as of 2016. We take up space. 

In Canada, we can now get legal and safe abortions and have full access to contraceptive pills. (We may still have to fight for it depending on where we live, but the laws are there.)

How about women’s marches? Have you ever been to one? Wow, they really are empowering! 

I went to my first women’s march last year and it made me so happy to see girls supporting girls. 

And remember in 2017 when #MeToo took the world by storm? That’s a big advancement in gender equality. Women were given a platform to publicly share their experiences of sexual assault. They were saying, “Hey, this is still happening and this needs to change.” Well that movement made international headlines. Since that movement, there’s also been an increase in women reaching out to Canadian sexual violence support services such as rape crisis hotlines. 

I could go on with numbers and statistics about how we still need to improve. But I think the most important thing to preach is that women and men deserve the exact same rights, resources, protection and opportunities. 

One day, we will achieve just that. But until then, if me writing this article can inspire you to do some research, attend a march, take a gender studies class or anything—then I consider that an accomplishment. 

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