Women mark International Women's Day, demanding immediate $14 minimum wage, services for families

TORONTO, March 8, 2014 /CNW/ - Women Working with Immigrant Women and the International Women's Day Organizing Committee will hold a rally, march and fair to celebrate International Women's Day on Saturday, March 8.

Rally at 11:00am at OISE Auditorium, 252 Bloor Street, West;
March at 1:00pm;
Fair at 1:30pm at Ryerson, 55 Gould Street.

This year's key themes focuses are on raising the minimum wage to $14 immediately; protecting public services, and fairness for young women who struggle do find decent jobs and housing, many burdened by high student debt.

Women are facing many economic challenges – especially those women who work for minimum wage. "I know how hard it is as a single parent trying to raise my son who is 5 years old.  Until 4 weeks ago, I was juggling three jobs so that I could provide for my family – two of those jobs were at minimum wage.  A $14 an hour minimum wage is one of the most important women's issues today," said Pinky Paglingayen, a member of the Workers Action Centre.

Canada has a generation of young people who are coming of age in a changing job market where 40% of people in the GTA work in precarious jobs without security or benefits.

"It's hard to get a full time job, housing is expensive, we have high student debt. If we want to start our lives and start a family, how do we pay for child care? For young people growing up today, it's not the same as it was 20 years ago," said Viktoria Bitto. Bitto was also featured in the study, "Working Women, Working Poor, released on March 6.

Wages have failed to keep pace with the cost of living and raising a family. Fees are increasing for many of the city services women and children rely on. User fees are expensive for families in Toronto – fees for pools, fees for sports. Because of city cuts, we see fewer staff in the libraries and parks. For women today, we are hit first by the lack of good jobs, and second by seeing our services decline or cost more – or sometimes both.

"We come together every year to recognize the diversity of issues facing women in Toronto. We speak out against violence and harassment, and we stand in solidarity with those women who are courageously making change in our city, like the women fighting for a $14 an hour minimum wage," said Judy Vashti Persad of Women Working with Immigrant Women.

For more information on the International Women's Day 2010 visit www.iwdtoronto.org

SOURCE: Women Working with Immigrant Women

For further information: Andrea Calver, IWD Organizing Committee: (416) 434-8031; Judy Vashti Persad, IWD Organizing Committee: (416) 895-0754

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