Women Speak 1986 Vol. 4 No.2

131 LeMarchant Road
St. John's, Newfoundland
A1C 2H3
Vol. 4 No. 2                                                                                                                 1986
"We dare, we can, we will" — This slogan was the rallying cry for women attending a "Day Out for Women" in Iceland to mark the end of the United Nations' Decade for Women. In a country with a population half the size of the population of Newfoundland, 25,000 women took to the streets of the capital city (Reyjkavik) to celebrate and to unite around the issues that are of concern to women — issues like day care, equal employment opportunities, global peace, and violence against women, to name a few.
Women of Iceland have organized themselves into a political force that is an inspiration to us all. They have formed a women's party and were successful in electing three members to the national assembly of 60 members. Iceland is a country not too dissimilar from our province in size and environment. Women organizing politically in Iceland have captured the imagination of the women and men of Iceland. We can certainly learn from their use of unconventional strategies and find out how they were able to mobilize large numbers of women. In a recent article about the women's movement in Iceland, one statement stands out — it says "Women have to act".
Gudrun Agnarsdottir, a feminist, a member of the "Woman's Party', and an elected member of the Parliament, will be the guest of Canadian women this fall. She will speak at a Women's Network Dinner in St. John's on Thursday, September 18. On Saturday, September 20, in conjunction with Louise Dulude, president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, she will lead a political action workshop. This is a workshop for women who are activists in the labour movement, in political parties and in the women's movement. Discussion will centre on creative strategies for dealing with the existing political structure and the only limitations on the discussions will be our imagination. What a marvellous and creative way to unite women. A "Day Out" for women to celebrate, to have fun and to give public recognition to the contribution that women make in our society. Will women in Newfoundland ever organize and say, "We dare, we can, we will?
Ann Bell
"What the emergence of women as a political force means is that we are quite ready now to take on responsibilities as equals, not protected partners."
-Jill Ruckleshaus (1937-) American govt. offical, lecturer
Stephenville's "Walk For Peace"
The Bay St. George Status of Women Council, with the support of the Summer Leisure and Recreation Program, sponsored a "Walk for Peace" on August 6, to celebrate the International Year of Peace, and to commemorate the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, August 6, 1945.
Two members of the Bay St. George Status of Women Council, Joyce Hancock, the council's president; and Susan White, council member; were the coordinators of the "Walk for Peace".
Preparations for the event began in mid-July when the coordinators held a meeting with the coordinator and senior staff of the Stephenville Summer Leisure and Recreation Program. Susan Fowlow, this group's coordinator, was enthusiastic, as "Peace" was the theme of their summer program and they had over 200 area children enrolled in the daily activities of the program.
The Status of Women Council began a publicity campaign in the last week of July. This was accomplished in several ways. Two area newspapers were contacted and they agreed to interview the peace walk organizers.
Most of the church leaders were visited by the peace walk coordinators and they agreed to bring this event to the attention of their respective congregations at the church services the Sunday prior to the "peace walk". They also included the information in the flyer, in their church bulletins. It is interesting to note that the candles used for the peace song were donated by St. Stephen's Catholic Church and that the rector of the United Church joined the walk with his wife and two young children.
The Bay St. George Status of Women Council members distributed flyers around the Bay St. George area. The information was also placed in public buildings and business places in the smaller communities outside Stephenville.
Children volunteered to hand deliver flyers announcing the peace walk on Monday and Tuesday before the event. These kids, all under twelve years of age, were instrumental in publicizing our walk.
Public figures (i.e. Mayor and counsellors, area M.H.A.s) were given a special invitation. Several of these people attended, while those who could not wished us well in our endeavor (sic).
The local radio station gave air time, especially on the day of the walk. There were also two radio interviews with the President of the Status of Women Council.
It was felt by the coordinators of the peace walk that it was not enough to simply encourage children to participate by joining the march. In the days prior to the walk, Joyce Hancock and Susan White visited the children in the summer program and talked to them about the significance of the "Walk for Peace", and encouraged them to bring their parents and friends.
Two films, Speaking Our Peace and If You Love This Planet, were obtained from the National Film Board. These films were made available at the Status of Women Council office in the days preceding the walk. Women were encouraged to drop by to view them.
Several members of the Bay St. George Status of Women Council came by during the evenings to help children put together their own signs. One of the coordinators, Susan White, personally made in excess of forty signs for people who came to the peace walk without signs.
On Wednesday, August 6, Status of Women Council members met at the council office facility on Main Street in Stephenville, bringing along plenty of cookies and gallons of koolaid (sic). The treats were arranged on trays and placed in their vehicles at the war memorial where the peace walk would terminate.
Everything was in readiness: We drove to the end of Main Street where the walk was to commence. In excess of two hundred people were mingling about in anticipation of the walk. A police escort lead the way, followed by two children carrying a large sign entitled "Walk for Peace". The walk was approximately one kilometer (sic). Along the way people stopped to watch us, to shout words of encouragement, to ask us just what this was all about, and some even to join us.
When we arrived at the war memorial, all the participants sat on the grass. Status of Women Council members distributed and lit candles. The president of our council spoke to the group and then introduced Susan Fowlow who sang the song "Pray for Peace", which she had personally composed. More people gathered and the traffic stopped in the street to hear the song. Following the song, the kool-aid and cookies were distributed and a singsong began. During the singsong the CBC news crew interviewed several participants as well as the coordinator of the walk.
The evening ended when it became dark, and people left with so many positive comments and remarks about the event.
Since the "Walk for Peace", the Status of Women Council has received high praise from politicians, church groups, and people of this area for providing a vehicle for the people of the Bay St. George community to celebrate the "International Year of Peace".
Our efforts as a council were certainly rewarded by the response from the people. It was indeed heartening to see so many children and parents join us as we attempted to promote a positive image for our council by our "WALK FOR PEACE".
— Joyce Hancock, President
Bay St. George
Status of Women Council
Non-Traditional Career Kit Now Available
A kit on non-traditional career choices for young women is available free of charge through the Provincial Advisory Council as of October. The kit was prepared by summer students Allison Fizzard, Louise Mesher, and Michelle Earle, who were employed through a SEED program, at the Provincial Advisory Council. It is aimed at anyone working with young women 13-17 years of age, and contains a bibliography of films, books, government publications (sic), and other resource material dealing with non-traditional career choices. The facilitator will also find enclosed a model workshop which gives an example of the format the workshop session could take. The Advisory Council welcomes participation from anyone working with young women, who wishes to offer information on career choices. For further information contact the Provincial Advisory Council — phone 753-7270.
A WOMAN'S ALMANAC-voices from Newfoundland
1987 Almanac Published
A 1987 almanac entitled "A Woman's Almanac — Voices From Newfoundland", has been written by author Marian White, and published in July by Breakwater Books. The almanac contains profiles of various Newfoundland women, from artist Rae Perlin, to fisherwoman Mary McDonald, and there are also selected poems. The almanac is available at Dicks and Company and sells for $11.95.
New Divorce Law Booklet Produced
A new booklet on Canadian Divorce Law entitled, "Divorce Law — Questions and Answers", has been produced by the federal Department of Justice. The booklet contains information on the divorce law as of June 1986. Questions dealing with child custody, support payments and grounds for divorce are answered in a straightforward manner. To obtain a copy of this booklet, contact the Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland, District Court Building, St. John's, NF or phone 722-2643.
Women In The News
Vicki Silk of Petty Harbour was appointed to a new Atlantic Fisheries Licence Appeal Board by Fisheries Minister Tom Siddon, July 7. The new board, which met for the first time in July heard appeals from fisherpeople dissatisfied with departmental licensing. Vicki, an inshore fisherwoman and owner of Thespians Warehouse, a theatrical costume business, was one of two Newfoundlanders appointed to the new Board.
Nancy Riche has won the position of Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress in June. She and newly elected president Shirley Carr, form the first ever female president and vice-president of the Congress. Congratulations to both women!
Madam Justice Margaret Cameron of the Newfoundland Supreme Court, was appointed to the Pension Appeals Board July 24, by federal Justice Minister Ray Hnatyshyn. The Pension Appeals Board, set up by the Canada Pension Plan to hear appeals from an administrative tribunal, is made up of judges from high courts across the country.
"The male ego with few exceptions is elephantine to start with."
(Bette Davis (1908-      ) American actress
Icelandic Politician To Visit St. John's
Gudrun Agnarsdottir, elected member to the sixty seat Icelandic National Assembly, will visit St. John's to be guest speaker at the Women's Network Dinner, Thursday, September 18. She will also speak at a workshop on political action sponsored by the Provincial Advisory Council on Saturday, September 20. Both events will take place at Hotel Newfoundland.
At the Network Dinner, Ms. Agnarsdottir, a member of the Icelandic "Kvennalist" or Women's Party, will speak about the mercurial rise of this Party, which seemingly came out of nowhere to capture four seats on municipal councils of two major communities in 1982. This was followed by the Party's win of three seats on the National Assembly in 1983.
At the workshop, entitled "Breaking Down the Barriers/Creative Strategies For Women in Politics", Ms. Agnarsdottir, along with Louise Dulude, president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, will speak about obstacles to women's participation in politics. This will be followed by group discussions on developing new strategies to overcome these obstacles. For those interested in attending either or both events, tickets may be purchased at the Provincial Advisory Council office, 131 LeMarchant Road. For further information phone 753-7270.
"I thought that the chief thing to be done in order to equal boys was to be learned and courageous. So I decided to study Greek and learn to manage a horse."
— Elizabeth Cady Stanton
(1815-1902) American suffragist
Women's Lobby Day Committee
In November 1984, the Women's Lobby Day Committee held a conference in conjunction with the Women's Ad Hoc Committee on the Constitution. The Committee consisted of individuals representing groups such as the Status of Women Councils across the province, social workers, Planned Parenthood, and the Labrador Native Women's Association. Cabinet ministers and members of government met with twenty-two delegates from these groups to discuss resolutions on day care, pornography, and family planning. These same resolutions were presented and discussed with the Liberal Opposition and the NDP.
The purpose of the lobby is to ascertain each party's position on issues that women deem important. As there is only one female MHA in the House of Assembly, it is necessary for the other provincial MHA's to hear regularly from an assembly of women.
The Committee is now preparing for a second conference and lobby session which will take place when the House of Assembly re-opens. Concensus (sic) is being sought for women's groups now to determine which are the burning issues that need attention from provincial representatives. The Committee welcomes participation from any women's groups interested in pursuing issues of women's equality. To become involved, contact Dorothy Inglis ph. # 753-0494
Provincial Advisory Council Conducts Outreach Project
In February 1986, with funds made available through the Canadian Jobs Strategy, Job Development component, the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women began an outreach project to explore the needs and concerns of women on the Southern Shore of the Avalon Peninsula and in Conception Bay North, in the Carbonear area. These areas were chosen because neither has a Status of Women Council, and it was felt that the views and concerns of women there were largely unexplored.
The project employed four people — a project manager/researcher, two outreach-fieldworkers, and an office support staff person. Fieldworkers were drawn from the areas in which they would be working. Activities in the outreach areas were co-ordinated through training and briefing sessions in St. John's, and through visits to the Southern Shore and Carbonear areas by the project manager and other Council personnel.
The project was conducted over a 30-week period. It was successful in raising awareness levels on women's issues, creating a forum for information dissemination and the exchange of ideas around a variety of issues from employment and training needs to family violence and the need for support services.
The Advisory Council concludes that such projects are valuable, especially in those ares (sic) where support groups for women do not exist, and where women have no encourgement (sic) to meet and discuss their ideas and concerns. Outreach projects, such as those sponsored by the Advisory Council, have the potential to establish informal organizations within communities and regions. Moreover, the training provided to the fieldworkers has the effect of placing in each region workers who are not only aware of problems and priorities within their communities, but who have valuable skills in the area of community development and, as such, are valuable resource people.
The results of the survey have been compiled and will be ready for distribution in early September.
— Carmelita McGrath
Advisory Council Co-ordinates Training Courses For Re-Entry Women
Rosemary House and Kathy Alexander were hired in June by the Provincial Advisory Council to co-ordinate the Painting and Decorating Course and the Entrepreneurial skills course respectively. The courses are being taught at the College of Trades and Technology, and are sponsored by the federal government's re-entry component of the Canadian Jobs Strategy.
The twenty women in the 40-week Painting course are learning all the basics of the trade — cutting and hanging gyproc, drywall plastering, exterior and interior painting, erecting scaffolding, preparing blueprints, and application of graphics and wallpaper.
The first group of ten women, who began the course ten weeks ahead of the second group, are now on job placements, working with contractors and institutions in the St. John's area.
The forty-week entrepreneurial skills program enables the twenty-four women in the course to gain valuable skills and knowledge on how to establish and successfully operate their own business. In-class training is alternated with work placement sessions, in which the students are able to work with owners/managers of businesses and obtain a view of the business from this perspective.
The students enrolled in the above courses are pleased with overall course content, and many are excited about learning skills in trades where women are still very much a minority.
One student enrolled in the painting and decorating course summed up her feelings by saying, "I feel as though this is the first time that I've finally decided to do something constructive in my entire life. It feels absolutely wonderful inside . . . I'm determined to do well in this trade and I know I'm gonna do well!"
"The freer that women become, the freer will men be. Because when you enslave someone — you are enslaved"
— Louise Nevelson
(1900- )
Russian-American sculptor
"In passing also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on woman."
— Nancy Astor
British politician
What's Happening
Bay St. George Status of Women Council
It has been a hectic spring and summer for the Bay St. George Status of Women Council.
The first annual dinner of the Bay St. George Status of Women Council, held on April 28, was well attended, with 130 participants. Joyce Hancock gave a presentation on pornography, and over 100 people signed a petition afterwards, requesting a restriction of pornographic materials in Stephenville. The petition was later presented to Stephenville Town Council.
The Council held a public meeting on June 10 at the Lecture Theatre of the community college. Dr. Gwen Bruce, a local general practitioner, presented material on women's health issues, and there was open discussion after her presentation.
The Council, with the support of the summer Leisure and Recreation Program, sponsored a hugely successful "Walk for Peace" on August 6, with over 250 participants in attendance (see accompanying (sic) article).
National Action Committee (NAC)
The National Action Committee Executive is meeting with Barbara McDougall, federal minister responsible for the Status of Women, at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting in Toronto, September 13. The purpose of the meeting is to share perspectives on women's issues.
On Sunday, September 22, at the Women's Centre in St. John's, Louise Dulude, president of the National Action Committee, will be meeting with NAC member groups from Newfoundland and Labrador. She will present a proposal to look at re-structuring and re-organizing of NAC, and will be seeking input from-the (sic) member groups.
Central Newfoundland Status of Women Council
The Central Newfoundland Status of Women Council has applied for a 60,000 dollar training grant through CEIC's Canadian Jobs Strategy Re-Entry Program, in order to train fifteen women as bank clerical workers. The course, which would be taught by the Newfoundland Career Academy and co-ordinated by the Central Newfoundland Status of Women Council, will last a total of thirty-nine weeks, beginning in mid-September if approved. One-third of the time will be spent in class while two-thirds of the course will consist of on site training.
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
A federal grant of $24,000 was approved in July for phase II of the Captain Cook Monument Restoration Project. This project, to be co-ordinated by the Corner Brook Status of Women Council and managed by CEIC's Canadian Jobs Strategy employs four women for a sixteen week period. These women are constructing stone and iron fencing, constructing a ramp for the disabled to the existing lookout platform, and clearing some land in the park.
This fall the Council's Women's Centre will be offering a six session course in Women's Awareness/Personal Development. The workshops are designed to provide an opportunity for women to explore their feelings and experiences as women and to develop a self-help response to their needs. Women's mental health issues will be presented and discussed. The course begins Wednesday, October 1, and continues each Wednesday evening until November 5. For further information contact the Corner Brook Women's Centre ph# 639-8522.
CRIAW Newfoundland
The Newfoundland chapter of CRIAW (Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women) has obtained a grant of $4150.00 to co-ordinate a number of Community Action Projects. The theme of these workshops will be to develop skills which would enable local women to carry out community research. The workshops would bring together community leaders and would help them develop research skills which could later be passed on to other women in the communities. Plans for these workshops will be finalized in the fall.
Those wishing to join CRIAW or find out more about the organization should contact Marilyn Porter, ph. # 737-7455.
Gateway Status of Women Council
Gateway Status of Women Council was able to hire two summer students from June to September through a SEED (Summer Employment/Experience Development) program grant. The students surveyed community women from Rose Blanche, Cape Ray, Isle Aux Morts, Harbour Le Cou, and Port Aux Basques on issues such as day care, abortion, and family violence. Approximately three hundred surveys from these communities were completed, with the final survey report expected in October. The students combined their survey activities with outreach work, informing survey participants about the function and goals of the Council and inviting feedback as to what issues the Council should focus upon. Participants felt the most pressing issues were family violence, employment, and housing.
In conjunction with other community groups, the Council will hold a conference on family violence this fall. The dates and speakers will be arranged shortly.
Labrador Native Women's Association
On May 2, 1986 the Labrador Native Women's Association said goodbye to Executive Assistant Wendy Mitchell, who has found a new job, and welcomed the new Executive Assistant, Emily Powell.
Since July 16, the town of Rigolet has had a chapter of the Labrador Native Women's Association. Congratulations to the new Women's Executive.
The Annual General Meeting of the Association was held in Northwest River on July 22-23. Two delegates from each of nine coastal communities attended, and the resolutions passed are now being followed up by the Executive in Northwest River. Dorothy Robbins of the provincial Government's Women's Policy Office and Marilyn Kane of the Native Women's Association of Canada were guest speakers at the meeting.
The Association is co-ordinating a Women's Awareness Program for all communities with membership in the Association. Films and information packages will be put together by Emily Powell and sent to teachers or social workers in each community, who will then provide lectures based on this resource material. The lectures will be held once a month in each community and will cover topics such as birth control, teenage pregnancy, single mothers, working women, Early Childhood Development, day dare services, job training opportunities, and the aging woman.
On August 8-15, eight Labrador delegates attended the National Native Women's Association's annual general meeting which was held in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, two each from Sheshashit, Northwest River, Rigolet, and Makkovik.
"Women's virtue is man's greatest invention."
— Cornelia Otis Skinner
American writer
Labrador West Status of Women Council
The Labrador West Status of Women Council's Women's Centre was open only two days a week during July and August because of an 11-week shutdown at Wabush Mines and the subsequent summer exodus of approximately 6,000 people from Wabush and Labrador City. The Centre resumes its regular hours in September.
The council will be sponsoring a week-end retreat, September 12-14 with guest speaker Diane Duggan. Diane and participants will discuss ways in which to raise community awareness of women's issues.
Line Baril of the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Commission (ADDC) will give a presentation on Alcohol and drug addiction the evening of October 7 at the Women's Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend.
For further information contact the Council at 944-6562.
Mokami Status of Women Council
An election for the Mokami Status of Women Executive was held in May
1986. Elected are the following:
President: Barbara Maidment
Vice-President: Laura Jackson
Secretary: Dorothy King
Treasurer: Robbie Staples
Public Relations Co-ordinator:
Reta Crane-Saunders
Hyra Scoglund
Two women have been hired through Department of Social Services Employment Opportunity Program to work in the Council's Thrift Shop.
Mokami Status of Women has also formed a Housing Committee in order to examine the acute housing shortage in Happy Valley.
A friendship quilt which was made at Mokami's Women's Centre, was among those collected from across Canada and distributed to Soviet citizens, as a gesture of international friendship.
For further information, contact the Women's Centre at 896-3484.
Northern Peninsula Status of Women Council
The Northern Peninsula Status of Women Council obtained a $7000 federal-provincial grant through the Seed (Student Employment/Experience Development) program.
The Council hired twelve students for work periods varying from two to six weeks during July and August. These students mowed lawns, chopped wood, and painted houses for single parents, widows, and senior citizens in Main Brook.
St. John's Status of Women Council
The St. John's Status of Women Council is sponsoring a provincial conference on Women and Work. The conference is tentatively scheduled for November and the location is yet to be chosen. For further information contact Beth Lacey at the Women's Centre ph # 753-0220.
The Council is preparing a brief on domestic wages which will be presented at the Labour Standards Board Hearings in St. John's.
St. John's Status of Women is working on a presentation which will be made on Women's Lobby Day.
TGIF's continue to take place at 5:00 p.m. on the last Friday of each month. Everyone is welcome.
The Women's Institute
At the last Triennial Conference held in Stephenville in August Angela Sullivan of St. John's was elected President of the Women's Institute of Newfoundland and Labrador for a three-year term.
In mid-October the Women's Institute's provincial convenor for Canadian Industries, Deris Hollett, and for Agriculture, Shirley Hall, will be joining their provincial counterparts from across Canada to attend seminars on free trade in Ottawa.
The provincial Executive of the Women's Institute will meet in St. John's from October 31 - November 1 at the Arts and Culture Centre.
For further information contact Jennifer Parey at 753-8780.
Radical Women — Then and Now
"No woman, idiot, lunatic, or criminal shall vote." from The Election Act of the Dominion of Canada
In the early years of the 20th century, the forces of the women's suffrage movement gained strength and secured victory throughout the western world. Women in Great Britain began the crusade for the right to vote, and their deep determination and often violent struggles helped to ease public acceptance of women voters in the United States and Canada. Committed Canadian suffragettes moved forward, province by province: the western provinces achieved political equality first in 1916, Newfoundland gave women the vote in 1925, and finally, in 1940, the final bastion of male chauvinism, Quebec, joined the rest of the country and allowed its female citizens to participate in the political process.
Opponents of women's suffrage presented a splendid array of imaginative arguments. Political equality would mean a disastrous increase in domestic arguments, leading to a higher divorce rate and a lower birth rate. Women were constitutionally too weak to withstand the excitement of elections, their sensibilities were too delicate to endure the rough and tumble environment of the polling booth, where drink and foul language were evidenced, their mental capacities were not sufficient to fully understand political problems. The American historian, Francis Parkman, ruminated in print on the grave danger to society, "if the most impulsive and excitable half of humanity had an equal voice in making the laws". Women didn't really want the vote; they could accomplish more at home with "loving persuasion"; if they had the vote they wouldn't use it anyway. Many men and women took out their bibles as the last word on the issue: woman's place was clearly in submission to man; enfranchising women would fly in the face of God's will.
The ever-present fear that women's suffrage would degrade and unsex women was perhaps never better put than by a Quebec MP speaking against federal enfranchisement at the turn of the century (Canadian women obtained the federal vote in 1919). This stalwart gentleman proclaimed "that women are the point of connection between earth and Heaven. They assume something of the angel . . . Let us leave them their moral purity, their bashfulness, their sweetness which gave them in our minds so much charm. You make men of women and you depoetize (sic) them." Kind of leaves you breathless, doesn't it?
Undeterred by such impressive oratory, small groups of women throughout Canada and Newfoundland continued to agitate for political equality. It must have been a very lonely battle at times. Just as we have a group called R.E.A.L. women today who reject the ideal of full equality and are ultimately concerned with protecting what they regard as a more traditional and secure lifestyle for themselves, so, many women in the early years of this century were uninterested in, or directly opposed to the concept of political equality. Just as feminist activists in our community today are often dismissed as noisy, misguided radicals, motivated by self-interest, so also were the suffragettes of the 1920's condemned. An anonymous letter to the Evening Telegram in 1921 with regard to women's suffrage might, excepting its style, have been written today. "There are a few women in this little city today who want notoriety, and to get it they are arousing (not mind you at anytime a difficult task) a number of decently placed citizens to interest and concern, sir, that will soon die a natural death as soon as the novelty wanes."
Newfoundland's suffrage movement grew out of the Ladies Reading Room and current Events Club in St. John's. Neither the name of the club, its mission, nor a list of the membership would seem to indicate a disturbing threat to society and the laws of nature. Yet this group encountered some frantic opposition. A lady in the group recalled that "for years we agitated gently, but it was surprising to find otherwise delightful people fly into terrific rages and order us out of their offices, when they learned what our mission was."
A woman's suffrage bill was twice defeated by the Liberal administration of Sir Richard Squires. In 1921 the determined members of the Current Events Club gathered 7,845 women's signatures from around the province, certainly an extraordinary accomplishment considering the population and isolation at the time. Squires referred the bill to a select committee where it suffered a common committee fate: death.
Finally in 1925, a new Conservative administration led by Premier Walter S. Monroe took charge of the suffrage bill. The Monroe Bill, as it was called, became law on April 13, 1925, conferring on women the right to vote and to be elected. A remnant of inequality existed until Confederation — women voters were required to be 25, while men were considered responsible citizens at 21.
Women today would have no political rights at all without the struggles of this small, dedicated group of radical women, who refused to accept things as they always had been, who refused to retreat even in the face of the most vociferous opposition.
Women and men who, while complacently accepting the rights and privileges won by the hard work of others, are still offended by the activists and agitators in the feminist movement, might consider the words of the famous Canadian feminist and suffragette, Nellie McClung — "Disturbers are never popular — nobody ever really loved an alarm clock in action — no matter how grateful they may have been afterwards for its kind service."
— Rosemary House
Planned Parenthood Newfoundland/Labrador
Planned Parenthood will be presenting an educational programme at 203 Merrymeeting Road from 8-10 p.m. every Thursday beginning September 11 and finishing November 6. Topics are as follows:
Topic                                                               Date
—        Introductory Course                             September
for Volunteers                                                   11, 18, 25
—        The ABCs of                                        October 2
—        Birth Control                                        October 9
—        Infertility                                               October 16
—        Sexually Transmitted                             October 23
—        Working With Single                             October 30
Pregnant Women
—        Menopause                                          November 6
For further information contact Planned Parenthood at 579-1009.
"Women Unite — Take Back the Night"
Women in cities right across North America come together on the third Friday of September to reclaim our right to walk our streets, to live in our homes, and to be out at night — unviolated.
The march starts in St. John's at Bannerman Park "Bandstand" at 7:00 P.M. Friday, September 19th.
The "TAKE BACK THE NIGHT" March is co-ordinated by the St. John's Rape Crisis Centre and a coalition of several other women's groups concerned with violence towards women. The focus of the march will be women's oppression through rape, battering, pornography and sexual harassment.
Come join women right across North America, and here at home and we will "TAKE BACK THE NIGHT" on September 19th!
Rape Crisis Counsellor Training Program
The St. John's Rape Crisis and Information Centre, located at the Women's Centre on Military Road, will offer a Counsellor Training Program in October for those who are interested in aiding and counselling rape victims. For further information contact Ann Donovan at the Women's Centre at 753-0220.
Transition House to Sponsor
"Atlantic Consultation"
Transition House is sponsoring an Atlantic Consultation for those who work with children from violent homes, both in shelters and in the community at large. The consultation will take place November 20-23 at the Battery Inn, with funding provided by a National Welfare Grant (Department of Health and Welfare).
The first day and a half will be directed at key people from Atlantic communities who work with children — teachers, social workers, law officials — who may not even be aware they are dealing with children from violent homes. The other day and a half will be geared towards those who work in shelters with these children.
The keynote speaker will be Dr. Peter Jaffe, a counselling specialist from the London family court clinic (London, Ontario), who has done research on the effects of family violence on children. There will also be workshops on techniques of counselling and therapy, the parent-child relationship, and worker burn-out. A video produced by Transition House teenagers about family violence will be shown, with funding provided by Secretary of State. Registration is limited. For further information contact Cheryl Hebert, at 722-8272.
Conference on Child Sexual Abuse Sponsored by School Councillors Association
The School Councillors Association of Newfoundland will sponsor a conference on child sexual abuse, October 16 and 17 in Corner Brook, at the Arts and Culture Centre. Guest speakers will be Linda Halliday-Sumner of British Columbia who founded SAVA or Sexual Abuse Victims Anonymous, and Diane Vandermey, also a member of SAVA. For further information, contact Sheldon McBrearty, at 256-2638.
"Success Strategies For Women" Luncheon
The St. John's Board of Trade is sponsoring a day long conference entitled "Success Strategies For Women" at Hotel Newfoundland, Wednesday, September 24, with additional funding from the Federal Business Development Bank (FBDB) and the Women's Program of Secretary of State. The objectives of the event are to provide career women with up to date information on topics of importance in daily life, as well as a framework for discussion on problems faced in meeting work and home commitments.
The luncheon keynote address will be provided by Sandie Rinaldo, anchor person for CBC's Canada AM, and former anchor person for the weekend edition of CBC's National News. In addition to the luncheon address, there will be ten other speakers at the day long event, with three workshops running simultaneously at any given time.
Tickets for the entire event are $75.00, or there is the option of attending only the luncheon, for $20.00. To purchase tickets or for further information contact the St. John's Board of Trade (phone 726-2961).
A Profile
Lynette Billard, now the chairperson of the Canadian Day Care Advocacy Association, was born in Port aux Basques and grew up in several communities in western and northern Newfoundland, graduating from Corner Brook's Herdman Collegiate in 1976. She attended Grenfell College in Corner Brook for two years and completed a Bachelor of social work in St. John's at Memorial University in 1981, winning the gold medal for academic excellence in Social Work.
Lynette (known as Lynette Pike until she recently re-assumed her maiden name) sees her involvement in social work and community issues as a natural outcome of her upbringing. "Because of my father's work, which involved community development, our home was often the hub of community activity", she says.
As a little girl she would sometimes sit on the staircase listening to the lively conversation in the kitchen long after she was supposed to be in bed. She recalls being fascinated, even if she didn't always understand what was happening.
Her father's work took the family to many communities, which meant that Lynette often had to change schools and make new friends. As a result she became a friendly extrovert who worked hard at maintaining a high academic average.
Lynette has lived for the past eight years in St. John's and has been employed at the Children's Rehabilitation Centre as a social worker since 1981. She is a single parent of a seven-year-old daughter named Rebecca. It was her difficulties in finding a good childcare arrangement for her daughter which drew her to the original day care meeting in 1983 organized by the Provincial Advisory Council. As with so many other parents, Lynette was frustrated by the absence of licensed care for children under the age of two, and by the limited licensed spaces available for those children over two years of age. She and Rebecca experienced the numerous pitfalls of having to rely on informal care arrangements — high caregiver turnover, and people who were only interested in being caregivers for the money. In her role as chairperson of the Day Care Advocates Association, she has been heavily involved in lobbying for increased government funding to day cares. The government responded to all daycare lobbyists in 1985 with an Equipment and Supply Grant of twenty cents per licensed full-time space per day, and a $1,000.00 start-up grant for new day care centres. In addition it raised the income ceilings for single parents needing day care subsidies. These are positive first steps, but Lynette says that the issue of direct government funding has been minimally addressed and that there is still much work to do.
Lynette's involvement in day care advocacy has not been confined to lobbying at a local level. In April 1984, she was elected as one of two Newfoundland representatives of the Canadian Day Care Advocacy Association (CDCAA), a position to which she was re-elected in April 1986. In June 1986, she was elected president of the CDCAA, a term she will hold for two years. She will be speaking publicly on behalf of all Canadians who want quality child care made available for any child that needs it. When the findings of the federally-appointed Special Committee on Child Care are tabled in Parliament, along with proposals on how government will deal with the child care crisis, Lynette will present CDCAA 's position on these proposals.
Lynette also finds time to sit on the Advisory Board to the College of Trades and Technology's Early Childhood Education program and the Department of Social Services' Family Day Care Committee. In addition she teaches Sunday School to four-year-olds at St. Thomas Parish in St. John's.
Lynette views lobbying as an effective means of influencing government policy and public opinion, and has often thought about being a professional lobbyist. It would certainly be an occupation well-suited to her outgoing personality and natural abilities. Day care lobbyists in this province have been extremely fortunate in having Lynette as a spokesperson for their cause.
— Gerry Collins
New Board Members Appointed to Provincial Advisory Council
Four new Board members were appointed to the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women. They are Carol Ann Beson of Grand Falls, Teddy Gunson of Corner Brook, Tish Kelsey of St. John's, and Joan Stone of Carbonear.
Carol Ann Beson is a registered cytotechnologist who works at the Central Newfoundland Regional Health Centre. She is vice-president on the provincial executive of the Newfoundland Association of Public Employees (NAPE) and the chairperson of the Provincial Women's Committee of NAPE. In addition she is a member of the Women's Committee of the National Union of Provincial Government Employees, and a member of the Newfoundland and Labrador Law Reform Commission.
Teddy Gunson worked as an administrative assistant at Corner Brook's Transition House when it opened in 1983, and for the past two years has been the co-ordinator of the Corner Brook Women's Centre. Her main interests lie in counselling and providing information on women's issues.
Tish Kelsey has a wide range of experience in the fields of social work and guidance counselling. While working in Corner Brook at Western Memorial Regional Hospital as the Director of Social Work, she became involved with the Corner Brook Status of Women Council. She presently works as a guidance counsellor with the Roman Catholic School Board and is the vice-president of the Community Services Council. Of concern to her is the lack of awareness of women's issues in teacher training courses and the continued sterotyped (sic) career counselling given to girls and boys in school.
Joan Stone has worked for the past fourteen years in the Department of Career Development as a business education instructor. She is a member of the Newfoundland Association of Business Education Teachers, and is very interested in post-secondary education opportunities for women.
The wealth of experience which the four appointees bring to the Council Board will be of benefit to the Council and thus the women of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Coalition of Citizens Against Pornography
On the Federal scene, earlier this summer the Minister of Justice released proposals for changes in the Criminal Code to deal with pornography. Although the proposals deal with many of the issues that have been of concern to the Coalition, unfortunately some of the wording has allowed critics like Alan Fotheringham in Macleans and the editor of the Evening Telegram to condemn the entire package as a threat to freedom of expression.
The Coalition, while recognizing that the proposals have certain weaknesses that should be corrected before they are translated into law, has given strong approval to their main thrust. For the first time, child pornography and pornography showing physical harm would be prohibited, and traffickers subjected to severe penalties. Also prohibited, though with some conditions to allow for legitimate artistic or educational uses, would be sexually violent and degrading expressions not covered under the heading of "showing physical harm". These, of course, are the very things that the Coalition has been concerned about.
There is legitimate argument over some of the definitions which could be resolved in committee. If that has been done satisfactorily, it is possible that the amended bill could receive unanimous approval for presentation. Because of the delay of the opening of parliament, the Bill can only be re-introduced with unanimous consent of the House and this is possible only if the bill has been amended satisfactorily.
    Dorothy Inglis
Coordintor (sic)
It is men, not women who have promoted the cult of brutal masculinity; and because men admire muscle and physical force, they assume that women do too."
— Elizabeth Gould Davis
American librarian, writer
Ella Manuel Trust Fund
Cecilia Rich, a former court interpreter and worker with the Sheshashit Native Women's Group, was the first recipient of a grant from the Ella Manuel Trust Fund.
The grant was used to support her attendance at the "Fate of the Earth" conference held in Ottawa from June 5-9. In the past, Ms. Rich has been a member of a delegation from the Canadian Environmental Network which met immediately after the conference with Minister of the Environment, Tom McMillan. She was also a participant in the 1984 Assembly of First Nations held in Ottawa, and in the 1985 National Native Women's Conference in Toronto. She is now studying at Memorial University and intends to specialize in social work or Native Law.
The Ella Manuel Trust fund was established six months ago in memory of Ella Manuel, a leading Newfoundland feminist broadcaster, writer, and international peace worker. The fund assists Newfoundland women in studies, research, and other activities related to peace and the protection of the environment.
For further information on the fund, write the Ella Manuel Trust Fund, c/o Royal Trust, Box 5339, St. John's, NF A1C 5W3.
—        Sponsored by Students Older Than Average (S.O.T.A.)
—        Friday, September 26 - Sunday September 28
—        Opening address and social evening at Grad House, Military Road.
—        Panel discussion and workshops held in MUN Chemistry Building, Rm. 3053
—        Banquet at New Moon Restaurant
—        Day care provided free of charge.
—        For further information contact S.O.T.A. at 737-7905
—        Financial assistance provided by: Women's Resource
Centre, Student Affairs,            — Tickets:
General Studies and the            Students $7.50
Students Union (C.S.U.)           Non-Students $15.00
If Undelivered Return to:
The Provincial Advisory Council
On the Status of Women
Newfoundland and Labrador
131 LeMarchant Road
St. John's, Newfoundland
A1C 2H3