Premier Stephen McNeil is encouraging all Nova Scotians to recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, March 8.
This year’s theme is #EqualityMatters.
“Equality for women will move our province forward – socially, economically, and democratically,” said Premier McNeil. “Government is committed to equality and inclusion and has taken steps to demonstrate that.”
There are six female cabinet ministers, the most under any Nova Scotia provincial government, as well as 10 female deputy ministers. Five of the last eight judicial appointments by this government have been women.
“It is important that Nova Scotians see themselves reflected in our public institutions, especially in leadership positions,” said Premier McNeil. “I’m pleased to see more outstanding women bringing their perspectives and abilities to senior roles.”
Equality between men and women is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While there has been great progress in making equality a reality in Nova Scotia, there are still challenges to address and it will take a collective approach to solve issues around wages, job security, and safety.
Earlier this week, government announced measures that build on the province’s first sexual violence strategy including adding more supports for victims. Recent court cases in Canada point to the need for more education and awareness.
The sexual violence strategy is just one of government’s initiatives with a focus on women and girls. Government made child care more affordable for families by investing in higher subsidy rates and investing to address historically low wages for early childhood educators. Other investments include supporting capacity building for transition houses, women’s centres and the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association.
International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to celebrate the strong women leaders throughout Nova Scotia’s history.
From Marie-Henriette LeJeune (Granny) Ross, an 18th and 19th-century pioneer and healer, to Viola Desmond, who helped change history by standing up for her rights more than 70 years ago, Nova Scotians can be proud of the remarkable women of our past and present.
We will continue to see women making strides in our future. This Women’s Day will recognize the advancement for women in the trades and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, at the Nova Scotia Community College, Waterfront Campus. The Women Innovating in Nova Scotia bursary will be showcased, as well as a new series of portraits, The Women of STEM, by Nova Scotia artist Joanne Napier. For more information, go to women.gov.ns.ca/content/iwd-wins-bursary-and-art-exhibit.