In 1913, Russian women turned the three-year-old American National Women’s Day into the first International Women’s Day. 100 years later the day is bigger than ever, though there is still much to achieve.

Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, says that all Canadians must be part of the solution to violence against women.

“Acts of violence against women and girls are crimes, serious abuses of power and severe violations of dignity and human rights,” she said in a press release. “We all have a part to play to stop the violence. I challenge all men to join women around the world to end violence against women and girls.”

Judy Vashti Persad, from Women Working with Immigrant Women, says that March 8 is a day where everyone, regardless of gender and geography, can come together to raise awareness.

“We are constantly hearing about the abuse, sexual assaults and violence that women and girls are experiencing,” she said. “On International Women’s Day our voices are united – violence against women and girls has to stop.”

This International Women’s Day comes after a year where outrage over sexual violence in India was dominant in news around the world. The United Nation’s human-rights chief called rape in India a national problem.

Steven Spriensma is a journalist and former news editor at Ignite News. He has a degree in Geography from McMaster University and an advanced diploma in journalism from Mohawk College.

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