85 years ago this month, on October 18, 1929, women in Canada officially became persons. There was still a long way to go however as women from certain ethnic groups were still not allowed to vote for many more years with aboriginal women being allowed to vote in 1960.
In Canada, we are our own persons. We do not belong to anyone. We can own property. We can attend school. We can make decisions. We can vote.
Many females around the world do not have any of these options.
In some countries, women may not be allowed to attend school or restricted from attending school due to tuition costs. There is a perceived lesser value in educating a girl child who will leave a family than a boy child who will stay.
In actuality, girls who receive education are more likely to marry later, not contract HIV, have more living children and empower others.
And education is only one area where women are unequal.
Around the world, women are persecuted and murdered for standing up for human rights, for stopping their would be rapists and attackers. For taking a stand against abusive husbands.
And, in some countries, women remain as non-person – without the right to vote, own property or have a say in their person.
This has to change!
I am not so naive as to believe this will ever happen on a global scale as there will always be those who seek to oppress others but I do believe we can become a global village where all men, women and children are equal and have access to education, health care, clean water, shelter.
To empower women is to educate, to inform and to raise up the status of women. Empowered women will, in turn, educate others including their children and future generations. By empowering women across the world, we move one step closer to equality.