Samantha Li / Staff reporter

On, October 8, 2004, Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to the environment and the human right for women. Maathai helped nearly 900,000 women get employed. The Green Belt Movement she founded helped plant over 30 million trees in Africa.  After 15 years, voices and stories from different parts of the world about women’s rights and the environment are heard all the time.

Rochelle Byrne, a woman who started a not-for-profit organization called A Greener Future, once paddleboarded across Lake Ontario to raise awareness about the environment. Byrne stated that their team does 100 litter cleanups along the shores of Lake Ontario every year and she was so amazed by what they have achieved. Recently, a news article reported by Marissa Lentz on MyKawartha says that Byrne is about to release a documentary about her journey.

Maathai’s help for women’s human rights also become one of the topics that people are still working on nowadays. During the 15 years period from Maathai’s Nobel Prize to now, protests, online stories, petitions have happened, bringing individuals’ eyes onto women’s rights and gender equality.

According to an article by Jane Gerster on Global News, experts say that “Canadian women are on track to reach gender equality in 164 years”. Through these years that Canada has been working with women and gender gaps, “Progress has been uneven for women who are Indigenous, women who are racialized……” said Andra Gunraj, the vice-president of public engagement for the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Since the 1990s, Canada has started to put more attention on women’s power, while considerable progress has shown, the overall curve tends to be flat. The article mentioned that a woman is killed every other day in Canada, women are experiencing murder, sexual violence, and in fact, Canada has a relatively high pay gap between genders.

“Between 2006 and 2018, the gender gap narrowed by less than a quarter of a percentage point per year on average.” Reported by Jane. If this rate continues, 164 years will be required to close the gap according to Unfinished Business, a 2019 report looking at Canada’s implementation of the Beijing Declaration about gender equality.

“For every step forward there seems to be another step back,” says the report.