International Women’s Year

The United Nations designates 1975 as International Women’s Year (Resolution No. 3275 of the General Assembly of the United Nations) to “promote equality between men and women” and to emphasize “women’s responsibility and important role in economic, social and cultural development at the national, regional and international levels” of society.

The first UN conference on women is held in Mexico, 19 June -2 July 1975.

Canada was a signatory so obliged to carry out the terms of the resolution. The federal government recognized International Women’s Year with a campaign called “Why Not?” and allocated $5 million for five regional conferences. Doris Anderson, editor of Chatelaine magazine and feminist activist responded in a speech she gave at Queens University, Kingston “Surely what women don’t need is conferences. We’ve been conferenced out”. Many women complained that the government’s campaign spent most of the money on creating informational programs, conferences for men, designing pamphlets and buttons, and developing a number of mobile information vans that toured six of the provinces. All of these initiatives focused on the federal government’s programs rather than providing funding for local women’s groups and projects.