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Authority record

Freeman, Barbara M.

  • Person
Barbara M. Freeman holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master of Arts in Canadian Studies from Carleton University. She graduated with a Ph.D. in History from Concordia University in Montreal. She began teaching at Carleton University in Ottawa in 1980 after a career in broadcast journalism. As an adjunct research professor of journalism at Carleton University, her key research areas were communications history, and gender and diversity issues in the media in the School of Journalism and Communication. She is the author of Beyond Bylines: Media Workers and Women’s Rights in Canada (2011), The Satellite Sex: The Media and Women’s Issues in English Canada, 1966-1971 (2001), and of Kit’s Kingdom: the Journalism of Kathleen Blake Colema (1989). In these essays, she examines historical cases of women who worked in print and broadcast media and were committed activists as well. Her case studies illustrate how the language and foci of women’s rights have changed from the late 19th century until the year 2000 as her subjects sought equality in education, suffrage, fair employment practices, reproductive and sexual freedom, and the rights of indigenous women. She has also published articles in several anthologies and journals. She is a founding and executive member of the Media and Communication History Committee and a member of the Canadian Committee on Women’s History.

Women's Liberation Bookmobile

  • Corporate body
  • 1974-1975

CORA was the creation of Judith Quinlan, Boo Watson and Ellen Woodsworth, three young women from Toronto who began planning the feminist bookmobile in 1973. They raised funds, promoted their plan, and bought and outfitted an old school bus, transforming it into a mobile library to promote information about women. A government grant provided the funding which got the wheels turning for the bus to begin its travels through rural Ontario in 1974.

Four other women joined them for the summer. “Women’s Liberation Bookmobile” was painted in large letters on CORA’s side. Inside the bus, racks held books (for sale, loan and to give away) by, for and about women, their history and the growing women’s liberation movement.

CORA was named for E. Cora Hind, a pioneer suffragist, grain grower and writer. The motivation for the travelling bookmobile was to make women’s books, periodicals and newspapers more readily available to women in small towns. Judith and Ellen wanted to help women in isolated situations find each other, facilitate communication and demystify women’s liberation, encourage schools, libraries and community centres to be aware of women’s resources and materials, and encourage women to write about their own experiences.

The women who operated CORA worked collectively, with a flexible attitude always open to new ideas. They would arrive in town, displaying their, “Women Working” sign, choose a conspicuous parking spot and then haggle with town officials for permission to park. Then they would set up, using an outdoor display rack (until it was run over in Huntsville!), distributing flyers about CORA, contacting local media, directly leafleting on the town streets.

Many women, young and old, from all backgrounds, visited CORA. Women’s groups were beginning to form in some locations, and CORA’s staff participated in meetings. The bookmobile carried information from women’s centres across Ontario and gave away literature. Women were delighted to see CORA the feminist bookmobile in their town.

The adventures of CORA were recounted in a Toronto feminist newspaper, The Other Woman, in 1975. In one town, Boo and Ellen got thrown out of the pool hall because, “there was no women’s washroom.” Camp counselors came and talked. One said, “This night might change my whole life.” The presence of CORA, the Feminist Bookmobile, in that summer of 1974, turned heads and raised consciousness.

Sistren Theatre Collective

  • Corporate body
  • 1977-
Sistren Theatre Collective was established in 1977 in Kingston, Jamaica and is an independent organization. It uses theatre to explore issues of discrimination faced by working-class black women. Since 1980 it has travelled throughout Jamaica, the Caribbean, North America, Europe and Africa performing plays and engaging with women.

Ottawa Women's Centre

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-1980

In early 1972, a group of women formed the Ottawa Women's Centre Association and drafted a proposal for a centre which would allow women to meet and pool their skills and resources. The Ottawa Women's Centre (OWC) was the result of their proposal. The Centre offered a space for meetings, counselling, training and education, and it became the hub of women's liberation activity in Ottawa from its opening in July 1972 until its demise in 1980.

Like many grassroots feminist organizations of the 1970s, the Women's Centre wanted to avoid traditional methods of organizing; the aim was to leave as much power as possible in the hands of the members themselves. Consequently, the OWC was structured as a collective, run by staff, volunteers and members together, and using consensus to decide on centre policy and direction. However, as the Women's Centre grew, the need for more structured organization became apparent, and while the collective structure was maintained, in 1974 a Policy Committee was elected to be in charge of the major decisions. It was also decided, in 1973, that the centre would be off limits to men.

The Women's Centre offered various services which revolved mainly around crisis help, counselling, information and support of various kinds. They were also very active in the community, helping to organize a number of events, such as the Native Women's March to Ottawa in 1979, protests against federal cutbacks affecting poor women, and "reclaim the night" parades. They inspired, supported and helped to organize many other women's organizations in the Ottawa community, such as the Rape Crisis Centre, Women's Career Counselling, Interval House and Upstream, a women's newspaper. In 1975, the scope of their programs had grown so large that it was decided to split the two components of service and action. At that time, Women's Info, Referral and Counselling became a separate organization while continuing to share the same space and Policy Committee.

Financial support for the OWC came from a number of sources, including individual donations and support from other community organizations such as the Ottawa Women's Business and Professional Club. A major fundraising drive and benefit events were held in 1973, 1974 and 1976. The OWC also received grant money through the International Women's Year Program, the Local Initiatives Program and the City of Ottawa. In 1975, they were awarded a $10,000 grant from the Regional Municipality on the condition that they incorporate and register as a charitable institution. However, this decision was strongly opposed by some members who saw the potential for serious problems in reliance on government funding. These problems were illustrated the following year when the same grant was revoked. Although the decision was later reversed, the OWC was temporarily thrown into a funding crisis by the controversy.

In 1978 an open meeting was called to discuss the future of the OWC and it was decided that they would work towards becoming self-sufficient. A Business Committee was formed to help with this goal, and the result was the creation of Chez Nous, a small cafe which opened on the premises in February 1979. It was hoped that revenues from Chez Nous would allow the centre to survive without government support. Unfortunately, difficulties connected to their application for a liquor license threw them into even deeper financial trouble and they were forced to close in May 1980.

The Women’s Place / Place aux femmes (fonds 10-020) was opened in 1986, after extensive feasibility studies and community surveys to determine exactly what type of service should be offered in Ottawa. The basic organisation, philosophy and services of Women’s Place were very similar to those of the previous Ottawa Women’s Centre, but there was more emphasis on meeting the needs of diverse groups of women in the community, and on working together with other organisations and agencies.

Toronto Wages for Housework Committee

  • Corporate body
  • 1973-1986

The Toronto Wages for Housework Committee (WFH) was a women’s group based in Toronto which began its operations around 1973. This committee was a branch of an international organization of the same name. It demanded that the federal and provincial governments pay wages for housework. It believed that housework kept women in the home, without financial independence from men. It also fought against the lower wages women received in paid employment, which also kept women dependent on a man’s income. The group attempted to rectify the inequality by launching campaigns in which isolated women could come together and struggle for their causes.

The Toronto Wages for Housework Committee gathered a large number of articles, pamphlets and newsletters from various organizations including the Wages for Housework Committee from other countries, organizations across Canada and several organizations from the Toronto area. The Wages for Housework Committee of Toronto often attended conferences on women's issues and kept themselves aware of the activities of other organizations. They were also active in organizing campaigns and producing articles related to wage issues. Although the date of their demise is not known, it appears from the documents that they ceased operation sometime in 1986.

Midwifery Task Force of Ontario

  • Corporate body
  • 1983-1993
In June 1983, a small group of midwives, consumers, health care providers and other supporters of midwifery met to discuss the status of midwifery in Ontario. Historically, Ontario had a tradition of lay midwives who attended the births of family, friends and neighbours. This tradition of community midwifery began to decline around the turn of the century until, by the 1950s, midwifery had all but disappeared in Ontario. In the 1970s, the practice of midwifery began to re-emerge and was influenced by the natural childbirth movement principles that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy, family events and that pregnant women themselves should be the primary decision makers about the health care they receive.
Subsequently, the Midwifery Task Force of Ontario (MFT-O), a community-based lobby group, was established to promote legislation and recognition of midwifery. Around the same time, the association of practicing midwives (Ontario Association of Midwives) and nurse-midwives association (Ontario Nurse-Midwives Association) joined together to form the Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM). The MTF-O gained support from women and their families seeking an alternative to the medical model of childbirth and maternity care. Over the next several years, the AOM and the MTF-O worked together to advocate the creation of midwifery as a recognized profession. This culminated in Bill 56, the Midwifery Act which was passed on December 31, 1993 making Ontario the first province in Canada to recognize, regulate and fund midwifery as part of the health care system.

British Columbia Federation of Women

  • Corporate body
  • 1974-1989
The British Columbia Federation of Women is an umbrella group for women's organizations in British Columbia. It was founded in 1974. Its goal was to organize province-wide action on women's issues, and it was particularly concerned with health, child care, education and employment. The Federation's objective was also to provide a network of support for women’s diverse struggles and “to overcome the physical and cultural isolation faced by all our sisters in this society ’’. Only women groups were affiliated with the federation. BCFW coordinators defined the organisation as “a linking together mechanism”. At the Annual General Convention delegates from each of the regions elected committee members and voted on policy resolutions. Vancouver Rape Relief was a member of the British Columbia Federation of Women and was one of the few remaining groups when the federation folded in 1989.

Branching Out

  • Corporate body
  • 1973-1980
Branching out was initially incorporated as New Women's Magazine Society in 1973. Published in Edmonton from 1973 to 1980, Branching Out was a high quality magazine produced by volunteers with a mandate to publish literature, art and feminist analysis by Canadian women. They sought to create a professional magazine and solicited contributions of prose, poetry, photography, book and film reviews, and news about women's groups across the country. This was in stark contrast to many women's magazines at the time that concentrated on traditional feminine subjects such as housekeeping and knitting patterns. The first issue appeared on shelves in December 1974. Sharon Batt and Susan McMaster were the founding and long term editors and the magazine was staffed by volunteers. Submissions were solicited and a nominal fee was paid. With the exception of hiring a printer, the staff handled all aspects of publication, from layout to distribution.

Crone, Emma Joy

  • Person
  • 1928-
Emma Joy Reeves was born in January 1928 in Manchester, England, to a working class family. From 1943 to 1945 she received secretarial and business training from the College of Commerce in Manchester. For more than 30 years, she worked as a medical secretary in different doctors' offices. From 1957 to 1961, she trained as a Hospital Welfare Worker and then became a Geriatric Social Worker. In 1965, following a divorce after 12 years of marriage, she moved to Germany and in 1968 emigrated to New York. A year later, Joy Reeves moved to San Francisco and became involved in the feminist movement. Joy Reeves had been involved with her former husband in the protest against Nuclear Warfare since the end of the Second World War. In 1973, she moved to Vancouver, British Columbia. In Canada, she is better known under the pen name Emma Joy Crone, a feminist writer and lesbian. She published “The common woman” in August 2005. She has also published articles and poetry in many magazines such as Herspectives.
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