In honour of the 14 women who were murdered at Polytechnique Montréal 34 years ago today, a candlelight memorial is taking place at 5 p.m. in Victoria, which can be livestreamed on YouTube.
In attendance will be Premier David Eby, Kelli Paddon, the parliamentary secretary for gender equity and Grace Lore, Victoria-Beacon Hill’s MLA.
Gender-based violence continues to happen today, with rates increasing during the pandemic, according to the government of Canada. Additionally, the government reported 1,125 gender-related homicides of women and girls in Canada between 2011 and 2021.
The massacre on Dec. 6, 1989, targeted women, with the shooter saying feminists ruined his life, according to his suicide note.
Since then, the Coalition for Gun Control was formed, and in 1991, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, on Dec. 6 each year, was established by the government. Many wear white ribbons on the day, remembering the victims.
Polytechnique Montréal is a university known for its technological research. In 2021, the university was proud to announce that just over 30 per cent of their 2020 bachelor’s degree graduates were women in engineering.
Still, some Canadians remain biased toward women pursuing careers more often done by men.
In a 2019 government study surveying more than 3,000 people in Canada, 26 per cent of them said men are better at learning trades, and 30 per cent of women are better at caregiving. However, 69 per cent said society undervalues women’s work, and 79 per cent agreed women have to do more to prove themselves as leaders than men do. That said, 40 per cent agreed that women in leadership roles become less likeable, compared to only 31 per cent of men.
Steps are being taken to pursue gender equality, including programs like Thompson Rivers University’s Women in Trades program in Williams Lake, where women are encouraged and educated to pursue and move forward with their careers in trades.
In a study by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, bringing more women into trades and science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations addresses worker shortages, provides economic benefits, brings unique perspectives into the company, increases profitability and is essential for productivity and innovation.
There are several resources available to women experiencing violence.
RCMP Victim Services: 250-392-8709
Canadian Mental Health Association: 250-398-8220
Chiwid Transition House: 250-398-5658
The Cariboo Friendship Society: 250-398-6831
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