Union of Health and
2781 Lancaster Road, Suite 400
Ottawa, Ontario K1B 1A7
T. 1(613) 731-5533
F.(613) 526-5537

Happy International Women’s Day 2024

On behalf of myself and the National Council of the Union of Health and Environment workers, I want to wish all of you a Happy International Women’s Day. As we celebrate our success today and through the month of March, it is also important to remember that many women in our communities still face great challenges and barriers to overcome, simply because they are women and girls.  

Those challenges include unequal, and in many cases, much lower pay than their male counterparts, as well as daily harassment and discrimination in their jobs. Sometimes they have no safe places, not even within their own homes. They must try and look after their families with minimal supports and are anxious and stressed all the time. That is not in some foreign land. That is right here in Canada. Today. 
It is also no safer in Canada for Indigenous women and girls. After thousands of documented cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls and a national inquiry and several failed action plans, they still go missing and are still being murdered. We must have action to go along with our words and this year we must recommit ourselves to the fight to have have safety and dignity in their own communities and in their own country.

Around the world, the challenges facing women and girls are even greater than in Canada. Women have fewer rights in some countries and struggle to simply survive in war-torn communities in places like Ukraine and Gaza. They have been the victims of rape and sexual abuse under cover of war in other countries from Afghanistan to Israel to Sudan. Because they have no voice, we must speak out on their behalf. 

I am also thinking this International Women’s Day about women and girls in the LGBTQ2+ communities who are still being publicly harassed and discriminated against. Trans people who are being attacked by conservatives and some religious people for the simple reason that they exist. We must find ways to not only support them. But to show that support openly and proudly, especially to our vulnerable trans youth. 

Thank you to all the union women who are actively working to make our Union and communities stronger, better and more fair. Thank you as well to our union male and non-binary allies who support us and the important work that we are engaged in. 

I leave you with this quote from the great Canadian activist and politician Rosemary Brown: 

“Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it”. 

Happy International Women’s Day 

Shimen Fayad 


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