Writing our own HerStory

October 5, 2016

October is HerStory month. It is a month to celebrate and acknowledge the extraordinary contributions that women have made throughout history. This year I’m excited to share with you a documentary about women in the BCGEU that the BCGEU Provincial Executive Women's Committee produced to celebrate these advances in our own union. Called We Are The Union: Working Women, the project was spurred on, in part, by a 2014 convention resolution to encourage greater participation of women in the union. As Chair of the Provincial Executive Women’s Committee, I am so proud to share with you this film.

The documentary tells the story of the fundamental role women and women’s issues have played within the BCGEU and the impact they have had on all workers in BC. It celebrates the work of women activists throughout BCGEU’s long history and the groundbreaking gains made on behalf of their female members.

The film contains interviews with numerous women activists, each of whom inspire me in many ways. Through their diverse voices and backgrounds, we hear stories about a variety of barriers our women members have overcome. It also speaks to our union’s vision towards greater diversity and inclusion. Reflecting on the important work of our union’s past, present and into the future; the film highlights some of the tremendous achievements of women in our union.

From making historic gains in gender disparity and pay equity, to the landmark case of sex discrimination that BCGEU fought right to the Supreme Court of Canada and won, your union has made remarkable strides in the fight against inequality. While we've made great gains over our history, we continue to strive to make this union more inclusive and relevant to our membership. 

I encourage you to share this documentary and watch it on your lunch break with your colleagues. Sit back, relax, make some popcorn and enjoy!

I also want to note an important part of Women's Herstory month: Sisters in Spirit Vigils. Since 2006, October 4th marks the day we honour the lives and the memory of Canada’s missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. Ninety events took place across the country yesterday to raise awareness to this national tragedy. The labour movement, together with family members, Aboriginal community members and others within our communities took time yesterday for this urgent cause.

As I said in the documentary, the biggest commonality I have seen in all of our women activists is the desire to make a difference in their communities and work together to affect change. Let us pay tribute to the incredible women who have shaped history and let’s also celebrate those women who continue to break down barriers, smash glass ceilings, and pave the way towards gender equality and a truly inclusive BC.

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