Awareness week draws attention to women's issues
Women have made a lot of progress over the past 100 years, especially when it comes to the working world, the executive director of the Sudbury Women's Centre said.
Although, on average, women still have lower incomes than men, they're now in a lot of fields that they weren't once able to be in, and are moving into management positions, Kelly Sinclair said.
That's the good news. Unfortunately, though, some women are still subjected to domestic violence, she said.
Sudbury Women's Centre aims to empower women leaving abusive relationships, but sometimes that's a difficult task, Sinclair said.
Women often stay in these relationships because they don't have the means to support themselves and their children on their own.
“The lack of affordable housing in Sudbury is a huge issue,” Sinclair said.
“So in order for women to be able to safely leave abusive situations, we need to have housing. We need to have work for women so they are able to leave and be economically viable on their own for them and their family.”
Sinclair made the remarks during the Women Unite – Standing Strong rally March 3, which helped to kick off International Women's Week.
Weathering frigid temperatures, about 25 women stood on the Bridge of Nations on Paris Street to draw attention to women's issues.
Cristine Rego, manager of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's northern Aboriginal outreach program, said Aboriginal women are at higher risk of a host of social ills, including poverty and addiction.
It's estimated there's about 800 Aboriginal women who have either gone missing or been murdered in Canada since 1990.
One of the most recent — in what Rego calls a “heart-wrenching story” — is Loretta Saunders, an Inuk woman and Saint Mary's University criminology student who was found dead in Nova Scotia last month.
Saunders was writing her thesis on missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
“It's ironic that she was doing the research, and she was one of the ones that ended up being murdered,” she said.
Rego said she hopes the International Women's Week demonstration raised some awareness of these issues.
“As women, we need to stand together in solidarity to make sure that our voice is heard not just today, not just this week, but every day of the year,” she said.