On Saturday millions will take to the streets in cities and towns around the globe as part of the 2018 Women’s March. It is hard to believe that it was just one year ago when outrage at the overt sexism and hate exhibited by a then newly sworn in President Trump galvanized the women of the world to take action. If last year’s march marked the awakening of a movement then this year is surely the birth of a revolution.
What started as the quiet voices of individual women standing up to tell their stories, often in the face of disbelief and ridicule, became a roar that has finally broken the terrible silence that has cloaked harassment and discrimination for too long. As woman after woman came forward to share their experiences the vast scope and insidiousness of harassment was exposed, as were the perpetrators. We’ve witnessed titans of Hollywood and media fall as the truth behind their sometimes not-so-unknown behaviour was brought to light. The time of “open secrets”, as we saw in the Jian Ghomeshi case, is over as those who would take advantage of their positions are called to account.
The #MeToo movement and #TIMESUP initiative have given voice to survivors and opened the eyes, ears and minds of those who previously refused to see, hear, and understand. We know that harassment and discrimination can occur in all sectors of the workforce, from boardrooms to shop floors. I ask any member who is experiencing or witnessing harassment or abuse to please reach out to Unifor, utilize the Women’s Advocate program for assistance. Your union is here to support and stand by you. You are not alone.
On January 20, I will join Unifor members at my local Women’s March to show solidarity with the women of the world and support gender equity for all women, for our friends, co-workers, mothers, sisters and our daughters, who we owe a better future to. The marches and local actions across Ontario are open to everyone and I especially want to encourage male allies to come out. Equality is not a women’s issue – it’s a human right.
You can find information on a Women’s March location near you here. Fly the Unifor flag proudly.
Ontario Regional Director