For immediate release
March 18, 2013
Toronto, ON—This International Women’s Day, more than 50 participants enjoyed a night of vital debate and lively celebration at the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario’s (PWC-ON) celebratory film screening, dinner and discussion on March 8th. Many who attended this event also marched with PWC-ON the following day for Toronto’s International Women’s Day demonstration and rally. Both events served to heighten women’s unity and resolve, as the struggle of women in Canada continues to grow and to deepen in strength and militancy amidst the onslaughts of neoliberal globalization that take away women’s hard-won rights through regressive social policies.
Organized by PWC-ON with the support of its sister organizations under the Magkaisa Centre, SIKLAB Ontario (Advance and Uphold the Struggles of Filipino Canadian Workers), and Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance of Ontario, the event “Celebrating IWD: A Film Screening of Karen Cho’s ‘Status Quo?: The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada’ “ took place at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. It provided organizers and participants alike a venue in which to discuss the issues that women in Canada today are still facing after decades of historic struggle. “It was a real eye-opener for so many,” stated PWC-ON member Lydia Vamvouras, adding, “many of the issues raised in the movie are usually demonized and marginalized even though they affect all women, on a systemic level, through our everyday experience as Canadians. It really is on us, as women of colour—who are also working women—to reclaim the movement and carry forward the advances that so many women have fought for.”
As a look back on the history of resistance that all women in Canadian society share, and a space in which critical discussions were ignited, the events allowed participants to address the critical issues of: women’s health and reproductive rights; cutbacks on social services; and the ongoing system of patriarchy, endemic worldwide, which perpetuates violence against women, especially against women of colour. PWC-ON’s position in calling for the abolishment of the racist, anti-worker, and anti-woman Live-in Caregiver Program not only opposes the exploitation and oppression of third-world women, but is integral to the collective struggle for national childcare that will benefit all women in Canada.
Equally successful was the International Women’s Day rally and march during which PWC-ON and its allies gathered and took to the streets. Militantly voicing their calls to expose and oppose all forms of exploitation and oppression, they refused to be silent and expressed their outright refusal to be hammered down by the constant attacks of the neoliberal agenda being implemented in Canada. They proved that in the face of marginalization women of colour remain steadfast in forging solidarity, to further intensify their struggles and resistance against neoliberal globalization.
Their contributions will pave the way for leaders to emerge who, with their great potential and lived experiences, will surely enhance the women’s movement not just in Canada, but also far beyond. As Joy Sioson, Chairperson of PWC-ON, declared, “Through our work and through this celebration, it’s abundantly clear why we need to continue our commitment in waging women’s struggles for liberation in Canada. Women must always be at the forefront of genuine change as we work towards the entitlement of our racialized communities within Canada’s working class, to their full participation in Canadian society. And so we continue to struggle collectively for our equality, development, human rights and genuine liberation, and we demand for nothing less.”
For photos of PWC-ON at the rally, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pwcontario/sets/72157632984896996/
See also our photos from the film screening! Go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pwcontario/sets/72157632984530110
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