{President's Report 2003}
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Making Herstory

To celebrate 30 years of feminism in St. John's and beyond, one dedicated Women's Studies' student completed a project this past year that extends far into the community.

{Sheila Keats}
Photo by Chris Hammond
Sheila Keats

Sheila Keats, a sign language interpreter on campus, began Women's Studies 6300 in the summer of 2002 to learn more about feminism in the community. As a member of the small, but enthusiastic, class of women, she involved herself with Spokeswoman, the official newsletter of the St. John's Status of Women Council (SJSWC).

“There was talk of compiling a `best of' 30th anniversary edition of the Spokeswoman to celebrate three decades of wonderful work done by the SJSWC,”explained Ms. Keats. “I thought it would be really interesting to research the writing of women in past newsletters - women who have essentially shaped feminism in this province - and so I offered to be a part of it.”

Part of it she was, as Ms. Keats single-handedly sifted through countless stories on a daily basis in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. “The women wrote about everything,”she said, “from earning the right to sit on a jury, to being fired for discussing ogling on CBC radio. I was just amazed that so much change had occurred in this province during my lifetime.”

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary celebrations of the SJSWC, the release of this special edition Spokeswoman this month celebrates the realization of many hours, and years, of hard work for Ms. Keats, and for the women of this community, collectively.

“The five months of research were so very satisfying and empowering for me,”added Ms. Keats. “The Women's Studies course truly brought the community to me - as it is now, and how it came to be this way. We owe a lot to the women whose voices I heard in those archives.”