By Nouman Khalil
MISSISSAUGA – Just ahead of International Women’s Day 2015, community organizations of the GTA are calling for everyone to recognize women’s work, remove barriers for marginalized individuals and empower them to continue to succeed locally and globally.
More than one dozen violence against women (VAW) organizations Friday (March 6) gathered in Mississauga to celebrate the achievements of women and take appropriate steps to ensure everyone gets equal rights and has access to required services.
The event was coordinated by Peel Committee Against Woman Abuse (PCAWA) in collaboration with Interim Place, Armagh House, Catholic Cross Cultural Services, Catholic Family Services of Peel Dufferin, Family Services of Peel, India Rainbow Community Services, Malton Neighbourhood Services, Muslim Community Services, Salvation Army Family Life Resource Centre, Salvation Army Women’s Counselling Centre, United Achievers Community Services and Victim Services of Peel, as well as agencies serving French-speaking/Francophone communities such as La Maison and OASIS Centre des Femmes.
The Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) funded French Language Services Referral Agreement in Peel was also launched on the occasion.
The referral agreement is meant to ensure seamless services for Francophone survivors of violence in the GTA. Any woman who is a victim of violence or survivor of rape or any kind of abuse can access a variety of services under the agreement.
“We want to ensure equal services for everyone in the community, specially for marginalized and racialized individuals,” said Sharon Floyd, co-chair of PCAWA and executive director of Interim Place.
“They have most barriers to access service because English may not be their first language, they may be newcomers or they may not know of all the resources.”
March 8 is being celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day to honour the achievements and successes of women. This year, the UN theme for International Women’s Day 2015 is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!”
“As we mark (IWD), we want to celebrate the ongoing work and commitment of violence against women agencies in Peel that are continuously working to remove barriers and increase access for all women and their children who experience violence in the region,” said Floyd. “(IWD) is an opportunity for us to acknowledge all the hard work of women, ensure there are equal rights for them and their voices are heard.”
“It’s important to plan and empower women to help them continue to do the amazing work in the society.”
She said IWD is about different accomplishments that women have made locally and globally to raise awareness and preserve the rights of fellow folks.
“More and more women are being victimised. In Canada, 1 in 3 women are at risk of being assaulted, abused or raped in lifetime,” said Jaya Mootoo-Szypulewski of PCAWA. “We need to have services to empower women and help them in the community. We also have great women in the community, but we want victimised women to speak out and talk to somebody.”
Supporters of IWD are encouraging everyone to use the hashtag ‘MakeItHappen’ on social media to support and celebrate the achievements of women.
By Nouman Khalil