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International Women's Day in Toronto

Last week, we celebrated International Women’s Day across the world. I had the privilege of speaking at the International Women’s Day celebration at the Barbra Schlifer Clinic, which offers legal, counselling, and interpretation services to marginalised women in Toronto. Throughout my time as a city councillor, I have sadly had to refer many women to the clinic for counselling as women in our community continuously reach out to me for support regarding their relationships and safety. In my address, I shared my own journey as a survivor of abuse, emphasising the transformative power to turn our suffering into support for others.

One of the highlights of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations in Toronto was the powerful rally that was held in solidarity with women around the world. The theme of the rally was, “No one is free until we’re all free”, drawing attention to the ongoing struggles faced by women in conflict zones, such as Gaza. The rally is organised by a diverse partnership with community groups, students, trade unions, and joins together thousands of women, men, non-binary, and gender-diverse people to stand together in the fight for equality and justice. Toronto is the only city in North America to have an annual International Women’s Day rally every year since 1978! This serves to show how the people of Toronto have an unwavering commitment to gender equality and social justice. This rally is a poignant reminder that the fight for gender equality knows no limits and that there is no liberation for women, until women are liberated across the globe. 

I am proud to be part of such a vibrant and socially conscious city where diversity is not just a word, it’s our lived reality! As a city councilwoman, I am consistently inspired by the passion and commitment of my fellow community members. I take pride in serving our city alongside 11 diverse women, and a mayor who is a woman of colour. Recently, St. Paul, Minnesota made history as the first major American city to elect an all-female city council! Despite this massive achievement, there are still major discrepancies in gender equality across Canada. According to Statistics Canada, “In 2020, women occupied just over one-fifth (20.5%) of the 17,996 seats on boards of directors, edging up 0.3 percentage points over the proportion of women recorded in 2019. The majority of boards of directors did not have any women directors: 59.7% of the 5,810 boards of directors included in the dataset were only composed of men.”

However, Toronto has taken strides in addressing gender inequality, notably through the initiation of the Toronto Intimate Partner Violence Action Plan, developed by Toronto Public Health. The program focuses on three key areas: prevention, identification, and response. Through this plan, TPH coordinates and tracks Action Plan implementation across the city. Despite these commendable efforts, the reality remains that gender inequality persists in various forms across our city. As a dedicated advocate, I am committed to collaborating with agencies across Toronto to ensure support for marginalised women and women who are facing IPV.


IWDToronto. “2024 Press Release.” IWD Toronto, 1 Mar. 2024,

Lazaro, Fred de Sam, and Sam Lane. “St. Paul Makes History as 1st Major U.S. City to Elect All-Female City Council.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 8 Feb. 2024,

Government of Canada, Statistics Canada. “Representation of Women on Boards of Directors and in Officer Positions, 2020.” The Daily - , 29 May 2023,

City of Toronto Gender Equity Initiatives Currently Underway,



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