Happy Women’s Day!

This International Women’s Day I dedicate my post to my first role model: my late mother Esther. She taught me a lot.

She talked to me about women forced into marriage by unwanted pregnancy and those who had to quit their jobs when they got married or had a child. She praised nurses and doctors who risked their professions to provide birth control. She told me about an aunt whose husband had to stage a fake adultery scene so that they could get “evidence” to obtain the amicable divorce they both wanted. She said it was so much easier for women when they were finally allowed to wear pants at work (in Manitoba, in winter)!

I celebrate the legal progress made in advancing women’s rights, just in my lifetime:

  • No-fault divorce legalized: 1968
  • Homosexuality decriminalized: 1969
  • Contraception legalized: 1969
  • Paid maternity leave introduced: 1971
  • Sexual assault within marriage criminalized: 1983
  • Pay Equity Act passed (Ontario): 1987
  • Abortion legalized: 1988
  • Same-sex marriage legalized: 2005

Thanks to all the folks who worked for these changes. I owe them gratitude for the autonomy and freedoms I enjoy. I don’t take them for granted. More work needs to be done to make sure that rights and privileges are affirmed and respected for all genders, races, religions and orientations. But I am glad that my mom helped me know the history to know how far we have come.