The fifth international action of the World March of Women concluded with events in Quebec on Sunday, with organizers demanding that the provincial government better protect indigenous women.
The Montreal coalition of the Global March for Women said that growing inequalities driven in part by the pandemic have affected indigenous women and girls in particular, because they are already more vulnerable to violence and discrimination.
“We stand in solidarity with the struggles of indigenous women and support them in their demands for justice to be applied so that they can obtain rectification and respect for their rights,” said spokeswoman Marie-Hélène Couture.
The World March of Women occurs every five years, from March 8 to October 17, but was postponed last year, on its 20th anniversary, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Take Care of Your Own Uterus’: American Women March for Abortion Rights
The Quebec Coalition of the World March of Women called on the province to institute systemic change at a rally that closes the seven-month-long event.
“We want the police forces to stop their practice of racial discrimination and police arrests,” said Marie-Andrée Gauthier, spokesperson for the Quebec World March of Women. “We want to repair forced sterilizations.”
The Quebec coalition used the occasion to also demand stronger economic integration of immigrants and increased funding to eliminate violence against women.
Gauthier said the government needs to propose a systemic change and not just put a “bandage” on the problems. He said there is a lack of resources to support immigrant women and calls for an immediate increase in the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour to combat poverty.
“During the pandemic, we saw more women working in so-called essential services and in unacceptable wages and working conditions,” Gauthier said.
Girls’ Day 2021: drawing attention to the plight of Afghan girls
The international motto of the World March for Women “resist to live – march to transform” is especially significant in Quebec, Gauthier added.
The Quebec coalition has been lobbying the government to act against violence against women, as the province experienced a series of femicides since early 2021, and an unofficial tally put the number at 16.
“When the government finds solutions, it must address the root causes of the problem and not just solve the various problems faced by women,” Gauthier said.
The coalition said it intends to meet with Isabelle Charest, the minister responsible for women, and different political parties to reiterate its demands.
The World March of Women began in Quebec in 2000 and has since spread internationally.
© 2021 The Canadian Press