Men and women took over Toronto’s downtown streets on Saturday to celebrate International Women’s Day. The celebration began with a rally at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. It was followed by a march down Bloor and Yonge streets towards Ryerson University.
International Women’s Day has honoured women’s contributions and gains in society since 1911. The United Nations declared 2014’s theme, “equality for women is progress for all.”
“We’ve come a long way but we got a long way to go. We need to recognize the progress we’ve made as women locally and internationally, but to continue to fight for change,” says Iris Fabbro, executive director of the North York Women’s Centre.
The North York Women’s Centre was just one of the participants of the rally hosted by the Ryerson Students’ Union and the Centre for Women and Trans people.
“This is a very good place to be because there are people here who are interested in women’s issues and they want to do something,” says Munrie Armstrong of #EndFemicideinTurkey, a group that advocates for women in Turkey who are violently targeted.
The Centre for Women and Trans People also hosted workshops for women on self-defense and feminist groups organizing on campus. A pub after party at the Ram in the Rye offered an International Women’s Day drink and food menu.
This comes after Friday’s panel discussion, “Women in Politics, Leadership and Governance,” hosted by Ryerson’s office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The panel focused on Ryerson female leaders and their experiences on campus.
Ryerson Students’ Union president Melissa Palermo spoke at the panel about her fight to keep Ryerson’s campus equitable for all.
“It’s not enough to simply have more women in positions of power and representation. We need to ensure that those women and all women on our campus and in society are provided with the resources to meaningful engage and call out sexism where they see it,” Palermo said. “I hope that this International Women’s Day can be a reminder of that work that we need to do and what we need to work towards.”