A decal of a cartoon Greta Thunberg being sexually assaulted was posted on social media with the name of an Alberta-based company prominently on display. When questioned about it, the owner both acknowledged he was aware of the sticker and downplayed the clearly violent imagery of the rape of a minor. On the cusp of International Women’s Day, the release of this decal is clearly upsetting and a reminder of how gender inequity continues to exist. To those who cite freedom of speech, remember, in Canada there are limitations to that freedom: it cannot incite hate or violence against marginalized groups.
Deliberate steps were taken to produce this image; this was not a whim. Somebody imagined the image. Somebody then sketched the image and then had to revise it. They had to strategically place the business name and logo on it. They then had to order the image and to consider the size, format, number, and price. Next, a shop had to receive this image and go through the steps of printing it. The purchaser then had to receive the order, unpack the order, and then distribute the decal. This is a clear example of misogyny and violence against women and, more disturbingly, violent sexual assault on a youth.
In Canada, gender-based violence continues to be a large gap for achieving equality. For Indigenous women, women with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ people, that threat is more acute. The National Inquiry of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIWG) found that Indigenous women and girls are 16 times more likely to be missing or murdered than white women. The report was submitted and accepted to Parliament in September 2019 with 231 associated Calls to Justice to address this.
Looking at the economic gender gap, there is still a significant wage gap where women earn 82 cents to a man’s dollar – it is one of the highest wage gaps found amongst the OECD and for non-white women, that gap is even larger. The World Economic Forum estimates that at current progress rates, it will take 164 years to close the economic gender gap in Canada.
However, the biggest gender gap that exists in Canada is in government and leadership (management) positions. With only 27% of Parliament being women, and a paltry 4.4% of seats and 0.9% of seats being held by racialized or Indigenous women, respectively, how can we expect to see significant changes in gender equity when women are not represented in the decision-making process?
International Women’s Day was on March 8th and no country in the world has achieve gender equality. The UN has set the theme as “I am Generational Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” and it’s a call to action for individuals, organizations, businesses, and governments to “mobilize global action to achieve gender equality and human rights of all women and girls”.