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EDMONTON – Today, on the 29th anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) is remembering the victims and continues to stand with those who face gender-based violence and trauma.

The event shook the country and forced people in power to take notice of the gender-based violence and misogyny women face daily.

“This horrific act was a haunting moment for our country,” said AUPE Chair of the Women’s Committee Susan Slade. “Especially for women – and others – who’ve always had to go about their daily lives knowing gender-based discrimination puts them at a higher risk of violence.”

Since 1991, Canada has officially recognized Dec. 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women to honour the 14 women killed two years prior when a man entered a classroom at École Polytechnique de Montréal armed with a rifle. His target was the school’s female engineering students, who were among a larger list of women he planned to kill in the name of “fighting feminism.” These women’s lives were taken simply for being women.

“Patriarchy is so deep-rooted in our institutions and cities that it often gets swept under the rug,” added Slade. “December 6 is a reminder that we can’t ever afford to ignore gender-based discrimination.”

Unfortunately, today, targeted violence against women still exists and continues to disproportionately affect women of colour and lower-paid workers.

“As unionists, we know the workplace is one site of many abuses of power, including gender-based discrimination,” added Slade.

A 2015 study published by the Canadian Labour Congress showed women and transgender people disproportionately experience domestic violence and more than half of respondents affected by domestic violence said the abuse followed them through the work day.

Last year, IndustriALL Global Union, which represents workers in over 140 countries, reported on the rampant sexual assaults, verbal abuse and physical abuse women in the mining, textiles and other manufacturing industries experience, and the pressures they face to stay silent for fear of losing their jobs.

“All of these instances of gender-based violence are our concern,” said Slade.

“As Alberta’s largest union, with a majority of the membership female, we need to use our collective voice to stand up for the safety and lives of all women and gender minorities at work and beyond.”

AUPE encourages all members and Albertans to attend this year’s Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women events happening across the province. Some events include:

Edmonton
Vigil organized by Norquest College
Dec. 6
12:15 PM – 1:00 PM
Singhmar Centre for Learning
Atrium

Calgary
University of Calgary memorial
12:15 PM – 1:00 p.m.
Main atrium of the Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex

Lethbridge
YWCA Rose Ceremony
7 PM – 8 pm
Visit https://www.facebook.com/events/191154845102656/ for more info

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