Close to 100 people gathered at a rally for International Women’s Day at Grand Parade in downtown Halifax yesterday.

The rally, dubbed “Looking Back and Marching Forward,” was held to speak out on women’s struggles and achievements in the past, while preparing for challenges to come.

“We faced a lot this year,” said organizer Rebecca Rose, noting the federal government’s efforts to scrap the long-gun registry, missing and murdered aboriginal women, the crisis in Haiti, and recent attacks on gender and women’s studies programs in universities across Canada.

“In the year to come, the G8 summit is happening in Halifax and the theme is maternal health,” she said. “But there’s been really no talk about reproductive rights, birth control, access to abortion ... so that’s a challenge, for sure.”

The rally featured speakers from disparate backgrounds on a number of subjects, including university professors, activists, and non-governmental organization workers.

NSCC bursary up for grabs
Women studying sciences or trades and technology at the Nova Scotia Community College can apply for a bursary looking to advance women’s economic equality.

The department of education, EnCana Corp. and the Advisory Council on the Status of Women announced yesterday they are supporting the $20,000 bursary, which will provide two $3,500 awards and 13 $1,000 awards for students studying in the fields.

The money is part of the Bread and Roses bursary program, established by the council last year to encourage more women to enter higher-paying work and to mark International Women’s Day.

A government release said women can use the bursary money for child care, transportation, tuition, school supplies or other related necessities.