A brief history of women’s equality in Canada:
In 1929, the Supreme Court of Canada declared that women can be recognized as persons under the law, “their Lordships have come to the conclusion that the word “persons” in sec. 24 includes members both of the male and female sex”.
Since then, the Canadian Human Rights Act (1985) has been clear that:
-“prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex….”
– “where the ground of discrimination is pregnancy or childbirth, the discrimination shall be deemed to be on the ground of sex.”
-“For greater certainty, sex does not constitute a reasonable factor justifying a difference in wages.” (The wage gap in North America has been refuted over and over by economists. Women are free to study and pursue any career they desire, with equal pay for equal work.)
International Women’s Day is the kind of “holiday” that makes sense when we talk about the inequality of women in the developing world. In the countries where women can’t vote, or drive, go to school or hold property simply because they are female. These discriminations are obvious injustices that deserve to be combatted at every turn. All human beings, regardless of chromosomal make-up, are equal because we are human beings. It is lucky to live in a country, like Canada, where women are equal, where we can fight against the inequality and injustice that women in devoloping countries suffer from.
However, inequality does exist in Canada. The type of inequality that exists in Canada, however, is not the kind that women fight against. In fact, this inequality is something that women are vocally fighting for.
In Canada the inequality is in the womb.
Canada has no laws protecting a female fetus, a human fetus, from being aborted simply for being female when the parents would rather a male. Nor do we have laws that protect a preborn child from being a victim of crime.
When a female fetus is aborted because it is a female, we have failed women.
When a pregnant woman can be killed with no recognition that her preborn child was killed as well, we have failed women.
When we try to force abortion on the developing world as the cure-all answer, we have failed women.
When the only reproductive health care treatments we can offer women is abortion or the pill, we have failed women.
Women deserve to live in a world where the ability to bear children is recognized as a power, not a flaw. “Abortion is,” as Alice Paul said, “the ultimate exploitation of women.” It is time that those behind International Women’s Day acknowledge that women will never be equal until abortion is eradicated.
“I am at once a physician, a citizen, and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow the concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged, and the planned have the right to live.” — Dr. Mildred Jefferson, first black woman admitted to Harvard Medical School (she graduated in 1951)
“The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation, and awakened active antagonism.” – Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman to earn a medical degree