Message from the Governor General on International Women’s Day

March 8, 2024

Today, we celebrate the achievements of women and reflect on the progress we have made towards gender equality. We also reaffirm our commitment to building a fairer, more equitable world in which the voices and contributions of women are not only acknowledged, but also amplified.

Unfortunately, women disproportionally continue to face barriers and discrimination in both their personal and professional lives. This discrimination is intensified online, especially on social media, where women—particularly women in leadership positions and racialized women—are subject to hateful comments and messages filled with misogyny, sexism and racism. Online abuse causes harm to women, and serves to silence powerful voices, discourage participation in public discourse, and create a climate of fear and insecurity. For young girls, navigating the online world becomes a minefield, diminishing their self-esteem and limiting their future aspirations.

To achieve national and global success, we need to create safe spaces online for every voice. This starts by bringing the issue to light, by making more people aware of the devastating consequences of online attacks. Too many women are driven from being leaders because of ongoing abuse directed at them, not for what they do, but because of who they are. We need every voice—we need a diversity of voices—now more than ever.

Fostering digital respect requires sustained effort, collaboration and commitment. I will continue to speak out and raise awareness of this issue. We all have a responsibility to be respectful online citizens, to lead with respect and consideration, and to speak up against misogyny and racism. On International Women's Day, let us commit to being advocates of change for women and girls everywhere.

Mary Simon

Media information:
Rideau Hall Press Office

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