The International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers “the opportunity to honour and to remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system”. The day also raises awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.
This year’s theme is “Women and Slavery”, which aims to:
- recognize enslaved women and the hardships they faced, including sexual exploitation
- recognize women who fought for freedom from slavery and advocated for its abolition
- celebrate the strength of enslaved women and recognize their success in “transmitting their African culture to their descendants despite the many abuses that they had to endure”
PSAC recently studied the impact of slavery on women of African descent in Canada. The impact of on-going racism includes higher levels of unemployment, under-employment, and low-paying precarious work with few benefits. Even today, black women who must migrate to Canada and leave their families behind under the Live-In Caregiver Program are denied the same rights as other workers. They are still not fully represented in decision-making positions and they make lower wages than non-racialized women. According to the 2011 National Household Survey, the unemployment rate for Black women is 13% compared to 6.7% for “non-visible minority” women.
PSAC encourages members to discuss the on-going legacy of slavery in Canada and the impact it has had on the descendants of people forced into the trans-Atlantic slave trade.