Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark International Women’s Day:
“Today, I encourage all Canadians to recognize the tremendous achievements of women in Canada and around the world in promoting equality, peaceful development and in combating violence against women and girls.
“Canada’s theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Working Together: Engaging Men in Ending Violence Against Women, which highlights the importance of engaging men in efforts to prevent such aggression, including playing a role in educating boys about healthy and equal relationships.
“Our Government supports grassroots organizations across the country for community projects aimed at ending violence against women and girls. These include initiatives addressing violence against women in four key areas: violence committed in the name of so-called ‘honour’; the trafficking of women and girls; women and girls in high-risk neighbourhoods; and engaging men and boys. Our Government has also been taking action by strengthening domestic laws against perpetrators of the most violent crimes and sex offenders who prey on our children. We have also taken several concrete measures to put the central focus of the criminal justice system back where it belongs, on the rights of victims.
“On the global front, Canada is playing a leadership role in the international campaign to prevent sexual violence against women and girls in conflict areas. For example, in October 2012, our Government announced $18.5 million to help support the fight against violence toward women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are also working with international partners towards putting an end to early and forced marriage.
“On this day, we should all take the time to pay our respects to the exemplary women in our lives. Let us also redouble our efforts towards ensuring that women in all countries can pursue opportunities as equals and in safety.”