OPSEU Provincial Women's Committee

On International Women’s Day mind the gender wage gap!

International Women's Day. All Women Rise Up. Graphic of two people holding hands

Officially, International Women’s Day (IWD) is recognized as “a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” But one only has to look at its origins to recognize that this day, at its core, is about celebrating the victories gained, and the struggles faced, by working women. On March 8,1857, garment workers in New York marched to demand improved working conditions, a ten-hour work day, and equal rights for women. Fifty-one years later in March 1908, women workers in the garment trade again marched, and this time there was a dual purpose. They marched to demand the right to vote and to put an end to sweat shops. In the 116 years since, women in the workplace have achieved a number of rights that remind us of what is possible. We especially see this when we look at one of the significant challenges that generations of working women have faced: the gender pay gap.

In Ontario, women earn approximately 31.5 per cent less per year than men. This disparity is even greater for racialized women, Aboriginal (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) women, and women with disabilities. In response to this, the Ontario Government has appointed a Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee. The Steering Committee has launched consultations, throughout the province, to develop recommendations to end this inequity. Unfortunately, one only has to look at wage freezes for the largely female workforce in the provincial public sector to see the government’s role in making the gender wage gap worse. Many transfer payment agencies are funding this gap in financial support by decreasing full time jobs and benefits.

While closing the gender wage gap can seem overwhelming, organizations such as the Equal Pay Coalition have identified “Twelve Steps to End the Gender Pay Gap by 2025,” which has been endorsed by OPSEU and identifies the following actions that governments, businesses and unions can take to close the gap:

  1. Treat closing the gap as a human rights priority.
  2. Raise awareness through annual Equal Pay Days & education
  3. Develop the “Close the Gender Pay Gap by 2025 Plan”
  4. Enforce and expand pay equity laws
  5. Implement employment equity law & policies
  6. Promote access to collective bargaining
  7. Increase the minimum wage
  8. Provide affordable & accessible child care
  9. Mainstream equity compliance into government laws and policies
  10. Mainstream equity compliance into workplaces and businesses
  11. End violence and harassment of women
  12. Secure decent work for women across the economic spectrum

Whether it's getting members to wear red on April 19 — Equal Pay Day in Ontario — or advocating for affordable, accessible childcare, the issues identified in these steps have been at the heart of the work that the OPSEU Provincial Women's Committee is focused on. We do this work to raise awareness of women's issues within the union, the labour movement and the greater community, just as generations of sisters that came before us did. This year we hope that you take the opportunity to stand beside your OPSEU sisters by attending the International Women's Day event happening in your region and be part of this proud tradition to achieve equity for all women.

For further information read the report Twelve Steps to End the Gender Pay Gap by 2025

Check out information about the gender wage gap and Equal Pay Day at the Equal Pay Coalition here

Read OPSEU's submissions to the Gender Wage Gap Steering Committee

International Women’s Day Events across Ontario


Celebrate International Women's Day [IWD] with your OPSEU Region 5 sisters as we demand justice on the job. Join us on Saturday March 5, 2016 at All Women Rise Up: Proud & Strong a day of sisterhood and solidarity. Then send a strong message to Kathleen Wynne that it's time to close the gender wage gap Monday March 7 at the Close the Gender Wage Gap – OPSEU Leaflet & Info Picket. See below for details:

All Women Rise Up: Proud and Strong

Date: Saturday March 5, 2016


Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Onatrio Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. W. This year OPSEU Region 5 will have a table to talk about taking action against the provincial government's austerity agenda and closing the gender wage gap. If you're interested in joining us to spread the word on equal pay for equal work please reply to this e-mail or contact opseupwcr5@gmail.com by Friday March 4, 2016.


Time: 1:00 p.m. Location: OISE, 252 Bloor St. W.


Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Ryerson University, 55 Gould St.

Close the Gender Wage Gap – OPSEU leaflet and info picket

Date: Monday, March 7
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St

Mary Spratt Breakfast

Date: Saturday March 5
Time: 9:00-10:30 a.m.
Location: United Steelworker's Hall, 25 Cecil St.

The OPSEU Region 5 Provincial Women's Committee will cover the cost for twenty [20] OPSEU sisters to attend. To secure a spot please contact opseupwcr5@gmail.com by Friday March 4, 2016.

Download the Mary Spratt Breakfast flyer IWD Toronto breakfast.pdf



Tampon Tuesday for IWD—March 8, 2016

Raise funds and hygiene products for Sex Trade Alternatives and Resource Services (STARS) through Elizabeth Fry. There will be raffle prizes and entertainment. Please bring a donation (new feminine hygiene product).

Location: Steel Lounge, Hamilton (197 King William) at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets: Up to 10 tickets will be purchased for sisters of region 2 on behalf of the PWC Region 2. Please let Shana know if you are interested at shana_shipperbottom@hotmail.com or 905-719-5445.

International Women’s Day 2016 Brunch

Date: Saturday March 5, 2016
Time: 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: 2625 Dixie Road, Mississauga

All proceeds go to Sexual Assault Rape Crisis Center (Hope 24/7), Armagh House and the Wellspring Cancer Support Center.

Tickets are $40 per person or $300 per table.

Please contact Gogi Bhandal if interested at gbhandal@clc-ctc.ca or call 416-417-5503.

International Women’s Day Rally and March

Date: Saturday March 5 2016
Time: 10:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Where: Hamilton City Hall

Organized by community groups coordinated by SACHA (Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton and Area) to stand in solidarity with women’s struggles and organizing world-wide. There will be speakers, a rally, a march and lunch provided.

Annual Norma Berti Breakfast

Date: Sunday March 6
Time: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: USW Hall—1031 Barton Street East
Tickets: $10 per person

Hosted by Women of Steel, this event will include guest speakers, door prizes and so much more!


Tampon Tuesday


Date: Tuesday March 8 2016
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Location: Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill, 88 Fanshawe Park Rd. East

Tampon Tuesday is a unique way to gather with others in the community, to network, socialize and go with the flow. Everyone is welcome to bring menstrual products for the London Food Bank.

Owen Sound


This year we are excited to add a Flash Mob Dance to The Bridge Walk. Join us on the Bridge!

Thousands of women and men gather around the world to draw attention to women’s issues and their struggle for equality, rights, safety, and freedom.

Come, stand, DANCE, and be united.

Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Time: 12:00 noon
Afterwards: Join us for a light snack at The Métis Centre, 380 9th St. E.

In the Theme of Bread & Roses – please help us symbolize food security (bread) and a better quality of life (roses) for the women and their children in the shelter by donating a non-perishable food item during the flash mob event.

To check out more information about this event, click here


Transformative Stories

Date: Friday, March 4
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: NISA, 36 Elgin Street, 2nd Floor

Join Kim Mullin who will guide participants to re-define their stories through expressive visual and writing techniques, For more information, contact Kaarina Ranta at 705-222-6472.

Annual Festa della donna-International Women's Day

Date: Friday March 4
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: 385 Haig Street Sudbury, Ontario.

Come celebrate La festa della donna with a delicious four-course dinner served by the men of the Societa Caruso. Dance to follow.

For tickets call Christine Sansalone at 705-675-1151 ext.4271

SDLC International Women's Day Brunch


Date: March 6
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Radisson Hotel, 85 St. Anne Road, Sudbury

Hosted by the Sudbury and District Labour Council Women's Committee. Guest speakers are Barb Byers, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, who will speak on, "Domestic Violence in the Workplace" and Nicole Beaulieu who will speak about the Sudbury Workers and Education Center.

Tickets are $25. For more information contact Treana Campbell at 705-521-4691.

Journée de la femme

Date: Sunday, March 6
Time: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Location: 553 rue Lavoie, Sudbury

Présenté par le Club Amicale du Nouveau Sudbury, en collaboration avec le Centre Victoria. Vin et fromage, ateliers avec Maria McAdam, Diane Legrandeur et Lise Denis, défilé de mode par la Boutique « Addition Elle » et monologue avec Françoise Gaudet-Geseron.

Téléphone 705-566-2113 pour acheter vos billets.


Date: Monday, March 7
Time: All Day
Location: YWCA Sudbury, 370 St. Raphael Street, Sudbury

Everyone–men and women–can pledge to take concrete steps to help achieve gender parity more quickly–whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias.

Learn how to twitter and tweet your pledge for #Pledgeforparity

Women and Work: Know your Rights!

Date: Monday, March 7
Time: 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Location: TBD

Information on basic rights in the workplace with a handson creative component to discuss issues women face at work.

Thunder Bay

International Women's Day Celebrate and Empower Events

Download the events poster iwd_Thunder Bay_2016.pdf

High Tea with Centr'elles

Date: Sunday, March 6
Time: First service: 12:30-2:00 p.m.; Second service: 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Location: Centre Francophone, Novocentre Room. 234 Van Norman Street

Please R.S.V.P. by contacting 807-684-1995 or centrelles.com/reservation. Space is limited!

Flag Raising

Date: Monday, March 7
Time: 11:00 a.m.
Location: City Hall, 500 Donald Street East

There will be a speech by Cristal DePeuter, representative of the Minister for Status of Women.

Download the event flyer iwd_flag_raising_poster.pdf

#Iamwoman Gala

Date: Tuesday, March 8
Time: 6:30 p.m. (for dinner)

The Gala event will feature dinner, dance, raffle prizes, fashion show, "Wall of Fame," local artisans and businesses. Tickets are $35 in advance. Space is limited!

For tickets, contact 807-474-4229 or e-mail: womensunifor229@tbaytel.net.

40 Fabulous Feminists and Amazing Activists

Date: Thursday, March 10
Time: 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Location: Thunder Bay Art Gallery, 1080 Keewatin Street

Please join the NorthWestern Ontario Women's Centre in celebrating the launch of their book, "40 Fabulous Feminists and Amazing Activists of Northwestern Ontario."

Download the event flyer book_launch_poster.pdf