International Women's Day in a time of War and Famine

International Women’s Day was conceived in Russia as an anti-war protest in 1913 as the world prepared for war. In the years of global conflict that followed, women across Europe rallied for “bread and peace.” And while Russian political leaders initially decried the women’s actions as untimely, those peace marches, strikes, and rallies helped contribute to the fall of the Russian Czar and the ultimate end of World War 1.

In 2024, we are again in a time of global conflict with wars in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. As always, the impacts of war on women and children are profound and long-lasting.

As we recognize International Women’s Day 2024, we must rise and demand justice and safety for the millions of women whose lives have been upended by the violence and evils of warring leaders, by men in positions of might and power.

This year we must also keep our eyes trained on those making decisions that affect women’s personal and bodily autonomy, a woman’s right to choose her reproductive destiny. Women’s rights are being systematically threatened and dismantled in the US, and it will be the role of everyone to ensure the restoration of the critical freedoms of choice and self-determination. It will also be up to us in Canada to keep the rise of fundamentalism from overtaking our political landscape, to maintain the rights of Canadian women.

The official theme of the United Nations International Women’s Day 2024 is “Inspire Inclusion”; that’s a laudable theme. Without inclusion, empowerment, and opportunity, there will never be equality.

In this time of war, we must hold global leaders to account. Without peace, without safety, and without the personal security of individual rights, the buzzwords of empowerment, inclusion, and opportunity are meaningless.

For the millions of women currently living under threat of bombardment, fighting, and famine, Yukon Employees’ Union calls for peace in Ukraine, for a ceasefire in Palestine, and an end to the genocides taking place in war-torn regions everywhere.

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