A March 8th Message From Secretary Treasurer Richelle Stewart

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. Here at UFCW Local 401, we strive to do the ongoing work every day in the fight for equity for 401 members and all working people. But on this March 8th, we take time to reflect specifically on the work that needs to be done to end gender discrimination, and we wholeheartedly embrace this year’s theme.

So, what is equity?

Gender equity, in a nutshell, means all genders are treated and considered equal. We know that great inequity remains between genders and that women have borne the brunt of discrimination, social and economic disadvantages, and are at far greater risk of suffering acts of violence and mistreatment. Add to this the deeply ingrained bias and discrimination against women of colour, Indigenous women, and other marginalized groups who are at greater risk of suffering inequities, and you have the need for great social change.

What can we do?

There are many things we can do. As Secretary Treasurer, serving the amazing members of UFCW 401 is a great honour. It is also my greatest challenge and inspires me to persistently reflect on what works that we can build on, and what yet needs to be done. This is achieved, in part, by talking to those affected by gender inequity.

One of the things that I do to create and nurture change is elevate the voices of women in our local union and across the country. Women not only have unique needs from those of men, we also have unique needs based on where we work, our home and family life, and within our communities. When I talk to other women about their realities and challenges, it informs my goal and focus on what I must do to help remove barriers women face and help create inclusive environments. Inclusive environments for our workplaces, our legislative halls and halls of justice, our access to supports and healthcare, our economic security, as well as our cultural centers and communities.

This year, I urge everyone to join President Hesse and I in continuing the work in calling out discriminatory behaviours and systems that continue to put women at a disadvantage. We urge all, regardless of gender, to create a world where we seek out ways to change the conversation around fair treatment and compensation for women. Ensuring we are actively making decisions to ensure inclusion is at the heart of everything we do. Women cannot do this alone and allies are essential if we are to be successful in our vision of equity, and brother Hesse and I will continue to listen and act to ensure gender equity is at the core of the important work we do.

In solidarity,

Richelle Stewart
Secretary Treasurer, UFCW 401

#IWD2023 #EmbraceEquity