Ken Neumann statement for March 8, International Women's Day

Stand up against hatred!

Over the past year, we have seen high-profile examples of hatred and discrimination of women. Top Canadian female political leaders, including Alberta premier Rachel Notley, have spoken out about the hate-filled messages they receive on a daily basis, because they are women who dare to lead. South of the border, for the first time, a woman was a serious contender to be president of a modern superpower. But instead of being greeted as a sign of progress, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy provoked ugly, blatant hatred of women for daring to be leaders. Her opponent, now the new president, showed no remorse for his sexist behaviour and instead gave the green light for others to voice similar views.

But women (and men) took to the streets all over the world in protest. We marched against demeaning attitudes toward women, against sexual violence, and against all forms of hatred. Women are refugees, so hatred of refugees harms women. Women are Muslims, so hatred of Muslims harms women.

And we’re taking action within our union, too. Over the last several months, USW’s National Women’s Committee has launched a very successful anti-violence campaign. Sisters and brothers made presentations to local, area council, regional, and other meetings, focusing on men’s role in ending violence against women. Thousands of Steelworkers pinned white ribbons to their shirts and hats. And more locals in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario negotiated into their collective agreements leave of absence language for workers dealing with domestic violence.

So we greet this year’s International Women’s Day with determination to protect and advance women’s equality.

In Solidarity,

Ken Neumann
National Director

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