March 8: Unions are leading the fight for womens equality

International Womens Day: When our mothers entered the workforce a generation ago, job postings still listed higher wages for men ... -mens rates" ... alongside lower -womens rates," for people working side by side, doing exactly the same job.

While women have fought for and achieved many significant gains, the wage gap between women and men today remains staggering: almost 30 per cent. Women working full-time still only make 70 cents for every dollar men are paid.

On average, a Canadian woman earns $39,200, while a man earns $55,700. The gap is even more appalling for women of colour (68 cents / dollar) and worst for Aboriginal women (46 cents / dollar).

Surprisingly, the situation is worse for women with post-secondary education. The Canadian Labour Congress reports that in 1985, these women earned 75 per cent of what their male peers got paid. By 2005, this had dropped to 68 per cent.

Union women lead the way
In fact, having union representation was the best way for women to achieve fairness. For example, in 2006, unionized women earned an average of $21.85 an hour, or 93 per cent of the wage of unionized men, according to the CLC.

Thats in addition to the other benefits of being part of a union: better benefits, job security, protection from harassment, and maternity and parental leave benefits. However much we have achieved, its clear that more remains to be done.

HSA invites members to celebrate International Womens Day by taking part in various activities and celebrations taking place across the province this weekend.

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If you know of an event in your community that is not listed below, please contact Yukie Kurahashi at @email. Check HSAs website at for updates to this schedule of events.


City: Vancouver
Date: March 4, 5-10pm
Place: Fraserview Hall, 8240 Fraser Street (south of Marine Drive)
Event: Vancouver District Labour Council Womens Committee: International Womens Day dinner and dance; contact the VDLC for tickets: 604/254.0703

City: Langley
Date: March 4, 6:30-8:30pm
Place: Muriel Arnason Library, Langley Township Hall
Event: First annual International Womens Day Celebration, with guest speaker Jane Hall

City: Vancouver
Date: March 4, 7pm-10pm
Place: Ironworks Studio, 235 Alexander Street
Event: Strong Women, Strong Music: benefit for Atira Womens Resource Society; call 604/531.9143 for tickets


City: Vancouver
Date: March 6, noon to 1pm
Place: Vancouver Art Gallery
Event: International Womens Day Rally

City: Vancouver
Date: March 6, 1:30-5pm
Place: Vancouver Public Library, Robson Branch, Alice McKay Room
Event: International Womens Day Conference ... Women at the Table


City: Burnaby
Date: March 8, 7:30am-9:35am
Place: Metrotown Hilton Hotel
Event: International Womens Day Breakfast: Click here to order tickets

City: Port Alberni
Date: March 8, 7pm
Place: Capital Theatre, Port Alberni
Event: Mid-Island International Womens Day; $5 tickets available at Rollin Art Centre or The Ink Spot


City: Vancouver
Date: March 19, 7am-9am
Place: Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, 900 West Georgia Street
Event: West Coast Legal Education and Action Fund Annual Equality Breakfast