Ottawa, Ontario March 3, 2021
International Women’s Day – Give Women a Break
It’s time Canadians gave women a break. It would make International Women’s Day much more meaningful for them if we did.
The break women desperately need is to be allowed to make their own decisions (no pressure!) as to how they live out their lives.
Politicians hand out plentiful money to encourage women to follow one path – to work in the marketplace in paid employment. Women are told repeatedly how much their financial support (i.e. taxes) is valued because they improve the economy. Newspapers and magazines publish glowing accounts of high achieving female CEOs who put all their time and energy into their successful careers, presenting them as role models.
It is no revelation, however, that women are not all alike. Not every woman aspires to be a CEO or seeks advancement in the marketplace. Many women work because they have to do so to survive, even if the work is tedious and routine. Others choose to work part-time, and still others choose to remain at home full-time to raise their children. These are all valued, reasonable choices.
Our society, however, does not have a high regard for mothers who choose to work full-time at home without pay. These women are undervalued and side-lined by society, which expects women to resume their duties in the workplace after giving birth as though nothing has happened. With motherhood, everything changes.
The truth is that it is difficult to juggle a career and a family and it is exhausting. This is because children are not just a sideline or a marginal part of women’s lives, but are central to their existence. Motherhood is forever, even when our children become adults.
The reality is there is no such thing as a work / home life easy balance and women who take on both these responsibilities full-time should be admired and respected. Similarly, women who choose to raise their children themselves at home should also be admired and respected. There is no greater purpose in life than raising children to be good people. The stability and security given children by their mother in the home is invaluable. There is massive power in motherhood, since a mother shapes her children’s foundational experiences and their sexual, social, educational, economic, and political experiences in later life. Her efforts also shape the nation. In addition, stay-at-home mothers often make financial sacrifices and can be stigmatized by a society that places value only on how much a woman contributes to the Gross National product and her household income.
Women Residing in Other Countries
Many women who reside in the developing world have other problems which affect their survival. Their problems include poverty, lack of education, clean water, and lack of medical care. These mothers are hardest hit by death during and immediately after childbirth. These tragedies occur because of infections caused by poor hygiene, high blood pressure that leads to seizures, and severe bleeding after childbirth. Also, there are 2.4 million deaths of children in the developing world who die in their first 28 days after birth. Canada’s foreign aid should be directed to providing these mothers in the developing world with birth facilities offering quality care to help them both before and after birth so that they and their children survive.
This would be the greatest gift that Canada could provide to mark International Women’s Day, together with recognizing the diversity of women who choose different, but equally valid roles in life.
For further information contact:
REAL Women of Canada
Western Canada Board Member
REAL Women of Canada