Below is a list of some of the national and international commemorative dates relevant to BPW’s mandate.
Refer to the source website(s) below and in the downloadable list for an annual update on theme, hashtags and graphics. Many agencies/organizations provide sample social media posts and graphics that BPW Canada clubs and provinces can utilize.
Downloadable Date List
Click here to view and download a more extensive list of dates that includes website resources and brief descriptions.
Commemorative Date Media Packages
Available to BPW Canada clubs, login required.
On February 16, 2021, the All Political Party Group to End Slavery of Persons presented a motion, unanimously adopted, to make official February 22nd as the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. February 22 will now be honoured as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, each and every year, across Canada.
February 22 coincides with the 2007 declaration by the Canadian House of Commons to condemn all forms of human trafficking and slavery.
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 (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
2021’s IWD UN Women Theme is Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world
“The theme celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is also aligned with the priority theme of the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”, and the flagship Generation Equality campaign, which calls for women’s right to decision-making in all areas of life, equal pay, equal sharing of unpaid care and domestic work, an end all forms of violence against women and girls, and health-care services that respond to their needs.
Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry…” ~ Source
“A challenged world is an alert world.
Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
We can choose to challenge and call out gender stereotypes and bias.
We can choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements.
Collectively, we can create an inclusive world.
From challenge comes change. Choose to challenge.” ~ Source
An inclusive COVID-19 recovery is one where all Canadians can benefit and prosper, including those who are marginalized and those most-impacted.
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.
“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
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.
2020: COVID-19: Protect children from child labour, now more than ever! In 2020, the World Day will be conducted as a virtual campaign and is being organized jointly with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA).
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
In 2020, the “focus on the first responders to human trafficking. These are the people who work in different sectors – identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the essential role of first responders has become even more important, particularly as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic have made their work even more difficult. Still, their contribution is often overlooked and unrecognized.” ~ Source
“…Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims…Data also shows that trafficking happens all around us as the share of persons trafficked within their own country has doubled in recent years to 58 per cent of all detected victims…
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. One of the crucial provisions in the Plan is the establishment of a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking, especially women and children…
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…
In September 2015, the world adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and embraced goals and targets on trafficking in persons. These goals call for an end to trafficking and violence against children; as well as the need for measures against human trafficking, and they strive for the elimination of all forms of violence against and exploitation of women and girls.” ~ Source
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!
On December 2019 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to name September 18 as International Equal Pay Day.
First International Equal Pay will take place on September 18, 2020.
“International Equal Pay Day, celebrated for the first time this 18 September, represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls.” ~ Source
“September 20 to 26, 2020 marks Gender Equality Week, an opportunity to raise awareness of the important contributions women and gender diverse communities have made to the growth, development, character and identity of Canada; to celebrate the significant achievements and accomplishments that we have made in advancing gender equality; and to reconfirm our commitment to address persistent gender equality gaps in our country…This year’s theme, #BecauseOfYou, celebrates the many trailblazers, activists and advocates who are working to advance gender equality in their communities.” ~ Source
“October is Women’s History Month in Canada, a time to celebrate the women and girls from our past, and our present, who are contributing to a better, more inclusive Canada.” ~ Source
The 2020 theme #BecauseOfYou, celebrates women and girls in Canada who have made, and continue to make, a lasting impact on our country. Women trailblazers pictured in above image: Esther Marjorie Hill, Gisèle Lamoureux, Joy Kogawa, Nellie Cournoyea and Portia White.
Women in Canadian History Timeline: “From early trailblazers to today’s powerful agents of change, from the long journey for women’s suffrage towards equality of rights and opportunities for all, women have and continue to blaze a trail to create a better, more equal world for everyone.” ~ Source
Women of Impact in Canada, an online gallery “which recognizes the contributions and achievements of 100 exceptional Canadian women and girls who have made an impact in politics, the arts and sciences, and countless other fields. ~ Source
“October 4th is a day when we honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people, support grieving families, and create opportunities for healing. The violence experienced by Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people in Canada is a national tragedy. United, we will demand action on an issue that impacts us all!”
“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
2020: “…under the theme, ‘My Voice, Our Equal Future’, let’s seize the opportunity to be inspired by what adolescent girls see as the change they want, the solutions- big and small- they are leading and demanding across the globe…” ~ Source
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
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 was #OurActionsMatter.
In 2020, the UNiTE campaign‘s theme is Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!
The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign is marking the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence (25 November to 10 December 2020) under the global theme, “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!“. UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign is amplifying the call for global action to bridge funding gaps, ensure essential services for survivors of violence during the COVID-19 crisis, focus on prevention, and collection of data that can improve life-saving services for women and girls. The campaign is part of UN Women’s efforts for Beijing+25 and building up to launch bold new actions and commitments to end violence against women at the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and France in 2021.
This year is like no other. Even before COVID-19 hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions. Globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner in the past year. Meanwhile, less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence report it or seek help. ~Source
#16Days in Canada
Canada’s annual #16Days is inspired by the UN Women’s #OrangeTheWorld campaign. Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, December 6, included in the #16Days.
They died because they were 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.
2020: “The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women is about remembering those who have experienced gender-based violence and those who we have lost to it; it is also a time to take action. Working together we can help prevent and address gender-based violence by remembering and learning from our past, listening to survivors, and speaking up against harmful behaviour.
December 6 falls within the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. Add your voice to the conversation between November 25 and December 10 and share the ways you are being part of the solution to end gender-based violence using the hashtag #16Days. “~Source
“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
2020’s Theme: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights
2020’s “Human Rights Day theme relates to the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. We will reach our common global goals only if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.
10 December is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of human rights in re-building the world we want, the need for global solidarity as well as our interconnectedness and shared humanity.
Under UN Human Rights’ generic call to action “Stand Up for Human rights”, we aim to engage the general public, our partners and the UN family to bolster transformative action and showcase practical and inspirational examples that can contribute to recovering better and fostering more resilient and just societies.” ~ Source