By Coline Camier, Senior Advisor on Gender Equality 

A Necessary Assessment in the Fight for Equality

Why is this March 8th important? March 8th is always a time to take stock of activists, committed individuals, and allies. To note the evolution of demands, which vary from year to year, from one March 8th to the next, and which unfortunately tend to accumulate rather than replace each other.

Each change in perspective shows how complex, intertwined, structural, and detailed the issues are, as well as cultural, economic, social, and political. When we discuss issues of equality between women, men, and non-binary people, shortcuts quickly arise. In our world, where everything is moving faster and faster, decisions are often made behind closed doors, with a lack of listening to diverse perspectives and, ultimately, a lack of real consideration of the impact of those same decisions.

Crises Exacerbate Inequalities: An Undeniable Reality

The theme of the March 8th collective this year is “Ça gronde” (it rumbles, in French). Yes, crises worsen inequalities and violence. And it is women and girls who pay the highest price for all these catastrophes. Here and everywhere. It is now known, heard, and documented. In 2023, the World Economic Forum estimated the time needed to close the gender gap worldwide at 131 years. In 2020, it estimated this time at 99.5 years: the COVID-19 pandemic has set back the achievement of parity by an additional generation.

So yes, we are angry. To try to make it understood, to say it in different ways, shout it loud and clear for decades now, and to suffer reprisals for our “demanding speeches”. Yet, the essence of these demands remains simply equality of rights and, in fact.

Looking Beyond Shortcuts

Why is it all the more urgent? Because the issues are becoming increasingly complex, reflecting the fascinating diversity of our human and societal relationships worldwide. Several studies indicate that most people claim to be convinced of gender equality.

However, for the new generations, the differences in “opportunities” are less striking: girls excel in school, are overrepresented in universities, and do not always face discrimination in their first jobs, even if it often occurs later.

Furthermore, career choices remain very gendered despite breakthroughs in certain professions. Without a deep contextualization, boys and girls will tend not to grasp the modern and insidious forms of sexism fully.

Mission inclusion: Our Commitment

That’s why Mission inclusion works consistently and complementarity in Quebec and internationally.

In Quebec City, the SPOT clinic embodies a model of inclusive care, offering health services adapted to marginalized populations, including women without immigration status, by actively eliminating barriers to accessing care. Mission inclusion’s support helps ensure free pregnancy follow-ups and referrals to essential resources for people not covered by RAMQ, among other services.

Internationally, we support CAFED, a feminist organization in the DRC, in Goma, where communities are living in an increasingly violent crisis. They specialize in supporting survivors of violence, and they assist in displaced persons camps. Their voice in advocating for women’s rights is crucial in this struggle.

These initiatives, both at the local and international levels, illustrate our rights-based approach to strengthening responses and management and governance mechanisms, making them more inclusive to fight systemic inequalities, promote respect for human rights, and ensure universal access to essential services.

Let’s Take Action

Time has passed for half-measures, and a real awareness of societal transformation is essential. Together, we can dismantle patriarchal, racist, colonial, obsolete structures and build a society that values and respects the rights of every person.
So let us commit today to a more just tomorrow, where gender equality will be the norm, not the exception. No matter the country or context, and especially in times of crisis. Ultimately, investing in women is investing in a future where human rights are universally respected and celebrated.

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