March 8, 2017
English Edition, No. 7
Long live March 8, 2017 - International
Fight for Modern Arrangements
live March 8, 2017 - International Women's
• Fight for Modern Arrangements
that Humanize Society!
- Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec
• Women's Struggle to Affirm Their Rights
Confronts Obsolescent Institutions
- Christine Dandenault
• On the Condition of Women and Girls
Long live March 8, 2017 - International Women's
Fight for Modern Arrangements
that Humanize Society!
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Quebec salutes March 8th,
International Women's Day, fully confident in the success of the
struggle of women to create the necessary and modern arrangements
to humanize society. In Quebec rallies, marches and meetings are
being held within the framework of the activities of March 8, 2017,
both as a public expression of their demands and aspirations for a
human society befitting of all human beings as well as to determine
together how to move forward.
Throughout 2016, women have
been at the forefront of the
struggles against nation-wrecking, including the destruction of
the health care system, education and child care services imposed
by the Couillard government, either as workers or as recipients
of such services. Furthermore, opposition to violence against
women, particularly Indigenous women in Val-d'Or and young women in
Quebec, has found expression in the many demsonstrations organized by
women in 2016. Women are demanding an end to state
violence, that those who commit crimes against women be punished,
and that old colonial methods be rejected.
Quebec women workers and their peers have bravely and
resolutely fought the offensive against their working and living
conditions and attacks on their pension plans, imposed through
legislation and decrees that protect the agenda of the
oligopolies. They face a power that is increasingly concentrated
in the hands of a government executive, which dictates their fate
through the use of decrees, special laws and measures that
criminalize workers and their right to defend themselves, even
through the law.
Following the shooting at
the mosque in Quebec City, with one
voice women, men, youth and families from all walks of life
condemned the attempt to divide or discriminate against people on
a racist, sexist, or religious basis. They also denounced the use
of violence, whether by unstable individuals or by the State.
They reject discrimination, which women are a target of, on the
basis of what people wear, their beliefs and whether or not they
come from a so-called rogue state and called for the defence of
the rights of all, as one humanity. They also reject the attempts
of those very same leaders who no more than six months ago
campaigned against "radical islamism" and are now campaigning
During the election of Trump in the U.S., Quebec women, side
by side with women in the U.S. and worldwide, expressed their
opposition to the war agenda and the attacks on rights that the
presidency represents. It was in that manner that they
expressed their consciousness of the end of "business as usual"
and the need to organize their resistance within the new
Within these battles, women are saying "no", "not in our
name", "no to destruction and austerity", "no to individual or
state violence", "no to war and aggression." However,
increasingly they are confronted by institutions and powers that
block women from exercising their rights. International Women's
Day takes on even greater meaning within a context where the
entire movement for the affirmation of rights is aware of the
need to look into how to wage the struggle within the present
Governance imposed by a tiny elite is
incapable of establishing a political process that would enable
citizens to truly participate in the sorting out of
society’s problems as a right that belongs to them. The
division of the Quebec polity is always invoked to hide the fact
that the National Assembly is unable to renew itself by creating
mechanisms where people have direct control over decisions that are
made. That is why people are being attacked, why it is
claimed that they are racist, that those who are newly arrived
refuse to integrate and that the youth must be spied upon to
prevent them from becoming "radicalized." What blocks us
is the fact that women and their allies have no control over any
of the discussion or issues that concern them. They struggle,
resist and ardently make their claims upon the society that they
are entitled to by right: as human beings in order to be able to
exercise their humanity, and as women in order to exercise their
womanhood, as minority women, as Indigenous woman, etc. These are
specific rights that could be affirmed in the struggle in defence
of the rights of all, on the basis of modern definitions. The new
is struggling to be born within extremely difficult conditions,
under renewed forms, while taking into account the new conditions
of impunity, regression and police powers. It is a tribute to
women not to give up and to persist in sorting out the problems
that they and the society face.
Women's Struggle to Affirm Their Rights
Confronts Obsolescent Institutions
The theme given for
International Women's Day 2017 by Status of Women Canada is Equality Matters. The logic
advanced to explain the theme is that "Gender stereotypes hold us all
back." Changing this "starts with changing attitudes and behaviours"
and among the proposed activities to change behaviours are to tweet as
much as possible with the hashtag #EqualityMatters, or to "plan a
fundraising event at your workplace or school for a charity that works
with women or works to advance women's rights."
International Women's Day has been celebrated for 106 years.
It represents the struggle of the women of all countries to free
themselves from the old world of exploitation of persons by persons and
to create a new world.
The distortion of International Women's Day by the Trudeau
government and Status of Women Canada is another illustration of how
the so-called democratic institutions they represent are an obstacle to
the affirmation of women's demands. Women and their collectives are
putting forward concrete proposals to make equality for women a fact of
life -- investing in health care, education and other social programs
and guaranteeing wages and working conditions that allow women and
families to live and work in dignity. They call for a profound change
in the direction of the economy so that it serves, first and foremost,
the needs of human beings and is no longer under the control of the
rich and the oligopolies.
The federal government and Status of
Women Canada call for women to embrace the current orientation of the
economy towards paying the rich because "[companies] with 30 percent
female leaders could add up to 6 percentage points to its net profit
margin." Status of Women adds that "having a more diverse corporate
board of directors may lead to stronger financial performance for
companies." This echoes Prime Minister Trudeau's emphasis, along with
U.S. President Trump, on encouraging women to become members of
corporate boards of directors and take up other elite leadership
In Quebec, the Council for the Status of Women announced via
its website that it held a dinner-exchange on March 7 with the U.S.
Consul General. It informs that girls aged 14 to 17 were chosen to meet
influential women from various backgrounds (artistic, political,
scientific, etc.) and ask these women questions about their lives and
passions and be inspired by their success. This is a provocative
message from the Quebec government to the millions of women who
participated in the actions of women in the United States against the
swearing-in of President Trump and the thousands who did so in Quebec
The demands of women today are to humanize society.
Institutions of the society are responsible for creating the
arrangements to facilitate this. The so-called democratic institutions
in Canada and Quebec fail to do so and serve an agenda at odds with the
needs of women who struggle for a society organized to provide for the
needs of all its members.
For example, the government of Quebec could have decided to
meet with the Consul General of Cuba in order to learn about the role
of Cuban women in bringing about the victories of the Cuban people and
their political and economic system against the U.S. blockade, as well
as the experience of Cuban women and their achievements in the fight to
eliminate illiteracy and guarantee health care and education for all.
Instead, giving credence to the Trump presidency's attitude towards
women demonstrates that the Quebec government, like the federal
government, has a different agenda for women and girls. They are
following the U.S. lead to promote Trump "Power Women" to mobilize them
for the financial oligarchy and U.S. imperialist war.
The struggle for the affirmation of women's rights remains
one of the most important problems confronting society. It is
intimately linked to the emancipation of the working class. The
so-called democratic institutions and the anachronistic political
process marginalize women from decision-making on all the issues that
concern them, and an issue second to none is for women to stand in the
front ranks of the leadership of society. Renewing these institutions
and the political process to achieve this is the problem put forward
On the Condition of Women and Girls
Women have always been at
the forefront of the struggle for rights and to open society's path to
progress. This struggle is inextricably linked to the people's fight to
exercise control over their lives and take up society's problems for
solution. Below are some recent data on the conditions of women and
Education and Work
women's wages are on average 30 percent lower than men's. This
disparity is reflected on several levels. According to the Statistical
Report of the Council for the Status of Women published in May 2016,
women without a high school diploma working full time earn 69.8 percent
of the median salary of men in the same situation.
For all levels of education, while women are now slightly
more likely than men to have a high school diploma -- 78.1 percent of
women versus 77.5 percent of men -- their salary is lower. When they
have a diploma, they earn up to 80 percent of that of male graduates.
With a university degree, women's employment rate is 81.5
percent, compared to 83.4 percent for men. With a college diploma, this
rate is 78.3 percent for women versus 81.0 percent for men. The
employment rate for women without a college diploma is only 38.3
percent, compared to 52.3 percent for men in the same situation.
For immigrant women, higher education does not improve their
participation in the labour market as much. The employment rate for
immigrant women with a university degree is 69.1 percent, compared to
78.5 percent for men in the same situation.
Sexual Exploitation of Children in Quebec
A study by the Montreal Health and Social Services Agency,
conducted between July 2008 and May 2009 among 610 youth aged 14 years
and over in 6 youth centres, reveals that 25.1 percent of girls and 7.2
percent of boys sheltered in such facilities have
already received money or goods in exchange
Amongst the youth who participated in this study, 9.1 percent
girls and 1.2 percent of boys reported dancing in an "erotic bar" at
least once in their lives.
Just over one-quarter of these youth, 27.3 percent of girls
and 100 percent
of boys, experienced their first dance episode in an "erotic bar"
before the age of 14.
According to the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of
Women (CACSW), in 2012, Canadian women involved in prostitution had a
mortality rate 40 times higher than other women.
According to the Council on the Status of Women, more than
80 percent of prostitutes in Canada entered prostitution while they
minors. The age of entry into prostitution is between 14 and 15 years
old in Canada.
In 2016, as many as 53 percent of Quebeckers aged 16 to 65
considered functional illiterates.
Only 11 percent of Quebeckers are able to summarize
from long and complex texts or to judge the reliability of
sources during a web search.
It is estimated that 19 percent of Quebeckers cannot read or
This means that more than half of the Quebec population does not
have the necessary level to function easily in an increasingly
complex society running at the exponential rate of
Over one million Quebecers between the ages of 16 and 65 are
There are five levels of literacy. At the first level people
have difficulty reading, or even decoding simple words or
phrases. At the second level, readers cannot vary their readings.
They are limited to reading simple texts by restricting
themselves to making simple deductions, and at best, distinguishing
the essential and the superfluous in a text. At the third level,
people reach the minimum threshold required to obtain a high school
diploma and hold a job. Finally, at levels four and five,
people are able to deal with diverse and complex information.
In 2013, 27,000 Canadians, including more than 5,000
Quebeckers, participated in the Organization for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD) Survey of Adult Skills. Based
on this survey, the Quebec Literacy Foundation estimated that 4 percent
of Quebeckers did not attain the first level of competence.
Fifteen percent of those studied attained level 1 and 34
percent reached level 2. This means that there are more than one
people aged 16 to 65 who have difficulty mastering and dealing
with diversified and complex information. In an economy that
relies on entrepreneurship, professional services, innovation,
research and development many people are excluded and
The results reveal that in Quebec, 4.1 percent of adults have
attained level 1 and 14.9 percent are at level 1 for a total of 19
34.3 percent are at level 2, while 46.8 percent are at levels 3, 4 and
One in three (34.3 percent) Quebeckers are likely to find
in a situation where their ability to read is related to the
presence of facilitating conditions or non-complex written
environments. In 2003, 32.9 percent of respondents were at this
Fewer than one in two people (46.8 percent) in Quebec is
demonstrate proficiency in literacy skills that enables them to
read in order to learn, understand, act or intervene
independently. In 2003, 51.1 percent of respondents were at this
Quebec Household Debt
Among those with debts, the average debt of Quebec
households doubled between 2000 and 2015. By age group, the increase
was felt more strongly by those under 35, with a 2.5-fold increase
over 15 years. The average debt of households under 35
years of age was $125,000 in 2015, 56 percent higher than the overall
average, at $80,000.
Poverty in Quebec
According to recent data from the Collective for a Poverty
Free Quebec, out of ten people working at the minimum wage, six
are women. Women earn on average $2.55 an hour less than men. At
retirement, women aged 65 and over have only 59 percent of the income
men of the same age.
Single Parent Families: 33 percent of single parent families
by women live in poverty, whereas when men are at the head 14 percent
are in a situation of poverty.
66 percent of First Nations women have annual incomes below
The unemployment rate is 4 times higher among recent
immigrant women (5 years and less) than among Canadian-born
Women are further penalized by the Couillard government's
anti-social offensive with reduced health care, education and
child care services, user-fee increases, and so on.
Food insecurity in
Quebec is a serious problem. Too many people suffer from food
insecurity and no one is immune.
to 2016-2017 data, Quebec food banks receive more than 1,800,000
requests for food. Quebec has a population of 8.215 million people.
400,000 people in Quebec, including 150,000 children do not eat enough.
Quebec's food aid agencies have recorded a 34.5 percent increase since
the last recession in 2008.
of 372,064 food baskets and 1,426,546 meals and snacks are served per
month to hungry Quebeckers. Twelve percent of monthly applicants are
half of the households receiving assistance in the past year were
families with children.
a lack of food, 5.6 percent of food assistance organizations had to
close early or not open some days between 2015 and 2016.
receiving food bank assistance, 10.8 percent have incomes that fall
below the cost of living.
to HungerCount 2016, 137,000 people, including 47,000 children between
the ages of 0 and 17 (23 percent of beneficiaries), receive food aid
every month through aid agencies.
Statistics on Sexual Assault in Quebec
Five percent of sex crimes are
reported to the police
(JURISTAT, 2014) and three sexual assault complaints out of 1000
result in a conviction (JURISTAT, 2014).
96.8 percent of offenders are male (Sécurité
78.1 percent of victims are women (Sécurité publique,
Two-thirds of victims are under 18 (Sécurité
The majority of victims (85.6 percent of minors and 68.3
percent of adults) know the alleged perpetrator.
Quebec Sexual Assault Help Centres
Data and Aid Requests
Similarly, sexual assault against women and girls is also a
serious problem that society must solve. Again, looking at the
situation in Quebec as an example, acccording to statistics compiled by
Quebec's Sexual Assault Help Centres (CALACS) for the year 2014-2015:
- 76.3 percent of
requests for help at the centres are related to incest or sexual
assault in childhood or adolescence;
42 percent of women wait 13 years and more before seeking help --
shame, guilt and fear associated with sexual violence can keep victims
silent for a very long time;
than 47.5 percent of women who come to the centres are 30 years of age
percent of aggressors are known to victims;
percent of sexual assaults are committed in a private home;
percent of sexual assaults are committed in a home that the victim
shares with the perpetrator; 16 percent in the victim's home; 22
percent in the abuser's home; 6.3 percent in a public place or school;
4 percent at work; and 1.4 percent on the transit system;
than 27 percent of women and adolescent girls seek help from a CALACS
within one year of being assaulted.
2014-2015, the centres received 1,850 requests for assistance. Eighty
percent of these requests came from women and adolescent girls who were
calling for the first time. Individual meetings represent 80 percent of
the hours of service and group meetings 20 percent. Interventions
include individual follow-ups, group follow-ups, legal or medical
support, support for relatives and referrals.
All Out for March
8, International Women's Day!
"Celebrate Women's Resistance"
Rally 5:00 pm
Place du 6
(corner of Reine Marie and Côte-des-neiges) Metro
Rally 10:30 am
(2325 rue de l'Université)
For information call: 418-622-2620
Click here here for complete
list of actions in Quebec
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