National and International Commemorative Dates
Women's March Human Trafficking Day International Women's Day BPWC's Equal Pay Day National Volunteer Week Equal Pay Day World Day Against Child Labour World Day Against Trafficking BPW Day Gender Equality Week Women's History Month #MMIWG | #SISVigils Day of the Girl Child Persons Day #16Days/#OrangeTheWorld December 6 Human Rights Day BPW Events
Below is a list of some of the national and international commemorative dates relevant to BPW's mandate.
***Click here to view and download a more extensive list of dates.***
Women's March Canada - January | #WomensMarch
"Two years ago, on January 21, 2017, people of all backgrounds--women and men and gender-nonconforming people, young and old, of diverse faiths, differently-abled, immigrants and indigenous--came together, 5 million strong, on all seven continents of the world.
On January 19, 2019, we march again. The theme for the 2019 Women's Marches around the world is ENDING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime." ~ Source
January 18 was 2020's Women's March with an emphasis on #MarchForOurHumanRights.
Women's March Canada's Facebook Page has all the information regarding The March, the history, advocacy, how to take action and more.
Return to Top
National Human Trafficking Awareness Day - February 22 | #KnowHumanTrafficking
On February 22, 2007, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion condemning the trafficking of women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
The House of Commons proclaimed February 22 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day to help bring awareness to the magnitude of modern-day slavery in Canada and abroad and encourage Canadians to take steps to combat human trafficking.
Human Trafficking is a BPW Canada Priority Issue. Learn More.
International Women's Day - March 8 | #IWD
"International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8. The day has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911. The day is not country, group or organization specific - and belongs to all groups collectively everywhere...is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day...". ~ Source
Themes: UN Women IWD Canada
2020's IWD UN Women Theme is I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights
"The theme is aligned with UN Women’s new multigenerational campaign, Generation Equality, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Adopted in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, the Beijing Platform for Action is recognized as the most progressive roadmap for the empowerment of women and girls, everywhere.
The year 2020 is a pivotal year for advancing gender equality worldwide, as the global community takes stock of progress made for women’s rights since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action. It will also mark several other galvanizing moments in the gender equality movement: a five-year milestone towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security; and the 10th anniversary of UN Women’s establishment.
The emerging global consensus is that despite some progress, real change has been agonizingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world. Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality..." ~ Source
2020's International Women's Day Theme: #EachforEqual
"An equal world is an enabled world.
Individually, we're all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women's achievements.
Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.
Let's all be #EachforEqual." ~ Source
2019's IWD theme: #BalanceForBetter.
2018's #IWD theme: #PressForProgress.
International Women's Day in Canada
"Empowering women and girls to equally participate in economic, social and political life benefits people of all genders. It increases economic prosperity, promotes peace and security, upholds fairness and justice in our society, and ultimately creates happier and healthier communities.
This International Women’s Day we are shining a light on grassroots efforts to advance gender equality in communities across the country and honouring Canadians who are finding powerful ways, both big and small, to drive positive change right at the source.
Join us in celebrating this year’s theme #BecauseOfYou, which pays tribute to the diverse and inspirational gender equality change-makers we know in our own lives." ~ Source
There are 9 Social Media Shareables available featuring each campaign trailblazer: athlete Christine Sinclair, LGen Chris Whitecross, Diversity Advocate Kathryn Foss, Businesswoman Ann Devine, UN High-Level Commissioner Dr. Alaa Murabit, Nobel Prize Laureate Dr. Donna Strickland, Moosehide Campaign Co-Founder Raven Lacerte, Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Dr. Mona Nemer, and Senator Chantal Petitclerc.
2019 IWD theme: #InnovateForChange
Return to Top
BPW Canada's Equal Pay Day - March 18 | #EqualPayDay
What is Equal Pay Day? Equal Pay Day illustrates how far into the next year a woman, on average, must work to earn the same amount a man made in the previous year. BPW Canada's membership approved a resolution to declare March 18th as Equal Pay Day in Canada.
Motion 70, placed on Notice since September 28, 2016, to declare March 18th as Equal Pay Day, Text of the Motion:
"That, in the opinion of the House, the government should designate March 18 of each year Equal Pay Day." Latest Activity: Placed on Notice (2016.09.28).
As of 2019, the Government of Canada has designated April 9 as Canada's Equal Pay Day.
Learn More ...
National Volunteer Week - April | #NVW
"National Volunteer Week (NVW) is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers...When we look at the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that Canada and others committed to achieving by 2030, there is not a single goal that does not involve volunteers. Whether working to eliminate hunger, promoting quality education or reducing inequalities." ~ Source
List of upcoming NVW's.
Canada's Equal Pay Day - April 9 | #EqualPayDay
2019's Government's Statement
Equal Pay Day Statement from Employment and Social Development Canada April 9, 2019: Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Statement: “On Equal Pay Day, it is important to note how far Canadian women have come in the last 40 years. Greater participation of women in the workforce has accounted for about one-third of Canada’s economic growth. Advancing gender equality is not just good for women, it is good for all Canadians...click here to read the entire statement.
World Day Against Child Labour - June 12
The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it. Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them. ~ Source
World Day Against Trafficking in Persons - July 30
"...Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide...In 2010, the General Assembly adopted the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, urging Governments worldwide to take coordinated and consistent measures to defeat this scourge. The Plan calls for integrating the fight against human trafficking into the UN’s broader programmes in order to boost development and strengthen security worldwide...In 2013, the General Assembly held a high-level meeting to appraise the Global Plan of Action. Member States also adopted resolution A/RES/68/192 and designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons." ~ Source
Return to Top
BPW Day - August 26 | #BPWDay
The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW or BPW International) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, on August 26, 1930. Each August 26th BPW members worldwide celebrate BPW, by wearing yellow, sharing photos on social media with hashtags #BPWDay and #BPWPride. Look for BPW Canada #BPWDay photos @canadabpw. BPW is worldwide networks!
Return to Top
Canada's Gender Equality Week - Fourth Week in September | #EveryoneBenefits
Women's History Month - October | #MakeAnImpact
"October is Women’s History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women and girls across the country and throughout our history.
This 2019 theme is still #MakeAnImpact, in honour of the women and girls who’ve made a lasting impact as pioneers in their field. Whether as business leaders, politicians, researchers, artists or activists, these women of impact have helped shape Canada into a thriving, diverse and prosperous country through their achievements and desire to make a difference.
As part of the celebrations, we launched Women of Impact in Canada, an online gallery that celebrates the achievements of more than 100 women and girls through photos and biographies that capture some of their many successes." ~ Source
Return to Top
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG)/Sisters in Spirit Vigils - October 4 | #MMIWG | #SIS
"Each October 4, a vigil is organized to honour the memory of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Family members, community members and concerned citizens gather to raise awareness and provide support to those who have lost a loved one.."
International Day of the Girl Child - October 11 | #DayOfTheGirl
"On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights." ~ Source
Persons Day - October 18 | #PersonsDay
October 18th "marks the day in 1929 when the historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “persons” was handed down by Canada’s highest court of appeal. This gave women the right to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and paved the way for women's increased participation in public and political life...In 1927, five women – who have since become known as the Famous Five – launched a legal challenge that would mark a turning point for equality rights in Canada. Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards were journalists, politicians, reformers and activists from Alberta who asked the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the following question: does the word “person” in Section 24 of the BNA Act include female persons? After five weeks of debate, the Supreme Court decided that the word “person” did not include women...
On October 18, 1929, Lord Sankey, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, announced the decision:
'The exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word ‘person’ should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?'
With this milestone victory, the Famous Five not only won the right for women to serve in the Senate, but also helped pave the way for women to participate equally in all aspects of life in Canada." ~ Source
Honour the Famous Five with a Pink Tea. How to Host Your Pink Tea, developed by the Famous 5 Foundation.
Return to Top
International: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence: November 25 to December 6 | #16Days/#OrangeTheWorld
Countries around the world have awareness campaigns for #16days: begins on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25 and end on International Human Rights Day on December 10. These campaigns are inspired by the UN Women's #OrangeTheWorld campaign. Canada's 2019 theme for the 16 Days is #OurActionsMatter.
In 2019 the UNiTE campaign's theme is Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape. Read 2019's concept note.
December 6: Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women | #december6
They died because they were women...Learn More...
December 10: Human Rights Day | #StandUp4HumanRights
"Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): a milestone document proclaiming the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world." ~ Source
Return to top
Violence Against Women
More than a Bed #16Days/#OrangeTheWorld December 6 - National Day Fact Sheets
More Than a Bed: A National Profile of VAW Shelters and Transition Homes
May 1, 2019 - Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) Press Release: "New National Report Finds that Violence Against Women Shelters Are Doing More with Less".
Press release excerpt: "In Canada, a woman is killed every 2.5 days, with over half killed by a current or former intimate partner. VAW shelters provide lifesaving services to women and children fleeing violence. Recent numbers from Statistics Canada showed that over 68,000 women and children had stayed in VAW shelters in 2017-2018. However, WSC’s report found that four in ten shelters reported being at capacity “almost always.” Capacity challenges are compounded by the lack of safe, affordable, and appropriate housing for women and their children across the country, in urban and rural communities alike." Read the entire press release...
The Report: “More Than a Bed: A National Profile of VAW Shelters and Transition Houses” was released on May 1, 2019, and provides information on 290 VAW shelters’ physical buildings; shelter size; length of stay and capacity; the various groups served and the accessibility of shelters for different survivors; service delivery and programming; labour, salaries, and types of work conducted; and funding, finances, and reporting. Where relevant, the report presents a cross-section of data at the regional and population size levels to illustrate differences across the country, as well as between larger and smaller communities.
The data clearly show that VAW shelters/THs are providing expanding services to a diverse group of women and children without comparable funding increases. ~ Source
Read the Report...
#16Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence/#OrangeTheWorld - November 25 to December 10
Violence Against Women is a worldwide problem. Millions of women and girls are affected by violence of some form every day. The issues, solutions and ways to make a difference according to UN Women have been summarized here.
"The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign that takes place each year. It commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day. It was originated by activists at the inaugural Women's Global Leadership Institute in 1991 and continues to be coordinated each year by the Center for Women's Global Leadership. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.
In support of this civil society initiative, under the leadership of the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign (UNiTE Campaign), calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanise advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations." ~ Source
2019's #16Days International Theme
"...under the umbrella of UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign that marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the UNiTE Campaign is calling on people from all walks of life to learn more and take a stand against the pervasive rape culture that surrounds us." ~ Source
2019's #16Days in Canada Theme
Canada's annual #16Days is inspired by the UN Women's #OrangeTheWorld campaign. In 2019 Canada's theme is #OurActionsMatter.
Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, December 6, included in the #16Days.
"The 16 Days are an opportunity to unite with partners around the world and reflect on what we can each do in our own communities and in our own lives to eliminate the disproportionate violence faced by women, girls and LGBTQ2 individuals...We all have a role to play in preventing and addressing gender-based violence, which is why this year's 16 Days theme is #OurActionsMatter. Between November 25 and December 10, we encourage you to join the conversation and reflect on the concrete steps you can take to question, call out, and speak up against acts of gender-based violence". ~ Source
2018-2019 - It's Time: Canada's Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.
December 6: Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
December 6 is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women in Canada. This day marks the anniversary of the murders in 1989 of 14 young women, engineering students at l'École Polytechnique de Montréal. They died because they were women. The day now represents a time to reflect on the phenomenon of violence against women in our society.
"We each have the opportunity and the responsibility to stand up against misogyny, sexism, and hate — and it starts with creating a culture of respect.
As well as commemorating the 14 young women whose lives ended in an act of gender-based violence that shocked the nation, December 6 represents an opportunity for Canadians to reflect on the fact that women in Canada, and around the world, continue to face disproportionate levels of violence each and every day.
It is also an opportunity to consider the women and girls for whom violence is a daily reality, and to remember those who have died as a result of gender-based violence. Finally, it is a day for communities to consider concrete actions to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls." Source
Return to Top
Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women Fact Sheets
Below are some fact sheets prepared after the CSW 57 in 2013, provided by the Canadian Research Institue for the Advancement of Women pertaining to Violence Against Women in Canada:
Return to top