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The Feminist News Service

  • Instelling
  • 1974-?
The Feminist News Service started in December 1974, after a conference held in Winnipeg. It became a national organization with an office in all provinces except for the Atlantic and the territories. Their aim was to become a link between women's groups and newspapers across the country.

Montreal Women's Network

  • Instelling
  • 1979-1993
The Montreal Women's Network incorporated women's groups and educational organizations who were dedicated to increasing learning opportunities for women in the Montreal region. Established in 1979, the Network sought to link women who were already active in their local communities and to provide them with formal and informal learning opportunities. The common aim was to help women to help themselves, to increase their options both within and outside the home, and to help them make choices about their future. They published a bi-monthly newsletter, publicity flyer, and organized regular programs and activities.

Wages Due Lesbians

  • Instelling
  • 1973-1984

Prior to Wages for Housework’s demise, in the mid-1970s a group of lesbians which had belonged to it created a new organization, Wages Due Lesbians (also known as Wages Due). Their policies were much the same, however, their emphasis was on the rights of lesbian mothers. Their constitutional difference was that: “Wages for Housework recognizes that doing cleaning, raising children, taking care of men, is not women’s biological destiny. Lesbianism recognizes that heterosexual love and marriage is not women’s biological destiny. Both are definitions of women’s roles by the state and for the advantage of the state.” (Lesbians Organize, Toronto, Ontario, 1977)

The Wages Due Lesbians organization campaigned to have housework recognized as work and demanded the right to have relationships with other women. They also made demands to the government for paid daycare, so that lesbian women could work and keep their children. As with Wages for Housework, they were highly involved in campaigns, rallies and publishing articles on women rights and in particular lesbian mothers’ rights. The organization seems to have disbanded by the early 1980s.

Sexual Assault Centre of Brant

  • Instelling
  • 1993-
In 1988 a group of women who sought to provide support to victims of sexual assault at the community level came together to form the Brant Sexual Assault Awareness Committee. They aimed to increase any services that existed for sexual assault victims; educate Brant County residents regarding the extent of sexual assault, and to advocate for the development of local services. In 1990, funding from the Ontario Women's Directorate and Secretary of State enabled a survey to be carried out, the results of which overwhelmingly called for sexual assault services to be established. In 1991 under the NDP government the Sexual Assault Centre of Brant was formed and it continues to offer this support today to women in Brant County who are survivors of sexual violence and to the people who support these survivors. They offer individual and group counselling, public education, advocacy, resources, and accompaniments to the court, police, or hospital. All of their services are open to women 16 and over in Brant County. The crisis line is open to survivors of sexual violence (female or male) or a friend or family member of someone who has experienced sexual violence.

Upstream Collective

  • Instelling
  • 1976-1980

Upstream was an Ottawa-based feminist news magazine published by the Feminist Publications of Ottawa. In January 1976, after a notice was posted in the Ottawa Women’s Centre, a collective began forming around the idea of a feminist news publication. The first issue was published in October 1976 thanks to a $3000 grant from the Bronfman Foundation and several fundraising endeavours. It began as a bi-monthly publication but changed to monthly when finances became difficult to secure. The collective started as a 16 women team and grew to include freelancers, volunteers, and a number of employees. They also hired students and contract employees through government assistant programs.

The name was adopted in honour of Agnes Macphail, the first woman elected to the House of Commons, who compared her public life in 1922 to a pleasurable but difficult voyage upstream. The staff felt that this paralleled the struggles women experienced going against traditional, exploitative currents in Canadian society. Published from 1976 to 1980, the collective wanted to keep women in Ottawa, and eventually Canada, informed of news and women’s issues from a feminist point of view. It was also a vehicle for encouraging dialogue between their readers.

Conceived of as a completely volunteer publication, Upstream began as a 20 page tabloid with 75% of space devoted to news and 25% to advertising. Each issue would include local news from a woman’s viewpoint as well as arts, sports, editorials, letters, opposition editorials, columns, national, and international news. Staffed by individuals with diverse backgrounds, they wanted to bring a variety of articles to their readers. This organization functioned with a non-hierarchical structure, which eventually caused issues within the group. Upstream was sustained through subscriptions and donations with a goal of generating advertising revenue in the future.

After fourteen months, Upstream developed some internal disharmony especially with regards to the political direction of the paper. Although they wanted a collective with diversity they required a more unified business plan. There are several letters and reports of issues with distribution including missing issues for several months, which is indicative of a lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities within the collective. The disorganization eventually led to several members resigning over creative differences. Although they had steady circulation and revenue from a typesetting business, the paper experienced severe financial difficulties in early 1980. The collective went through a restructuring phase that was meant to create a unified policy that would help with the content, structure, and the political aim of the news magazine. Unfortunately, the reconstruction only identified bigger issues. In July 1980, the final issue of Upstream was published including personal messages on Upstream’s challenges and goodbyes. There was a wave of support both written and financial after the end of publication.

Feminist Publications of Ottawa hoped to expand into other forms of publication including graphic design. In 1978, members of the original collective also received a Secretary of State Grant to create a poster series on Women in History. This series included posters about women in sports, working in non-traditional careers, and a focus on the People’s case. There is no clear evidence that the full series was ever completed.

Voice of Women

  • Instelling
  • 1960-

Voice of Women began in 1960 when women across Canada were alarmed about the threat of nuclear war and how nuclear testing was endangering their children’s lives. Lotta Dempsey wrote columns in the Toronto Star asking women to write to her if they were willing to “do something” about this imminent danger. Hundreds replied. Four women, Jo Davis, Dorothy Henderson, Helen Tucker and Beth Touzel met with Lotta Dempsey and shortly thereafter “The Voice of Women” was established. Within months, thousands of women joined VOW that began to receive newsletters urging women to form small local groups to keep in touch with one another and to encourage all their female friends to join and unite for world peace.

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) is a non-partisan Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) comprised of a network of diverse women with consultative status at the United Nations ECOSOC. For 55 years, VOW has tirelessly advocated for a world without war. An accredited NGO to the United Nations, affiliated to the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), VOW was the Canadian lead group for peace at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. Members have been active in follow-up activities, including writing the chapter,”Women and Peace” in Take Action for Equality, Development and Peace.

They continue to exist today as part of a growing and select number of NGOs that provide women the opportunity to appeal to national government and international diplomats, attend conferences at the United Nations including the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and to write and present briefs and statements to political heads of state and nations worldwide on women and peace issues. They respond to calls for guidance and research on peace and women’s issues locally, nationally, and internationally. VOW is a non-partisan, non-religious organization that values women in all their diversities.

Ottawa Women's Place / Place aux Femmes

  • Instelling
  • 1986-

The idea for Women's Place/Place Aux Femmes originally grew out discussions held in January 1984 with Mayor of Ottawa, Marion Dewar. The community representatives and individuals who met with the Mayor felt there was a need for a centralized telephone information and referral service specifically for women.

A feasibility study on the need for such a service was commissioned in 1984 by an interim board named Women's Info. The study confirmed the need for one source to co-ordinate and provide information on the services available to women. Those surveyed also pointed to the problem of gaps in service and the need for outreach and advocacy, and so it was agreed that, although the service would begin with information and referral, it would grow into the areas of support, advocacy and direct services. In late 1984, while plans were being made for the new service, numerous concerns were raised about duplication of existing services, particularly with the Community Information Centre. To deal with these concerns, Women's Info decided to accelerate their growth plans and were given a grant of $10,000 to gather support and suggestions for the new proposal which included a wider range of services and a physical space for personal access and Centre activities.

Women's Info consulted the community extensively through mail-out questionnaires, pamphlets, and in-depth interviews, and discussions were also held with Community Information Centre representatives in an attempt to clarify respective roles and objectives. It was agreed that, besides providing information and referral, the new women's centre would also help identify and advocate for unmet needs and resources, and would work to heighten awareness of women's issues. The new proposal had extensive community support, and on October 16, Ottawa City Council approved funding. On June 12, 1986, Women's Place/Place aux Femmes officially opened at 242 Besserer Street.

From the beginning, Women's Place was concerned with reaching out to women who were isolated or disadvantaged because of age, ethnicity, poverty, disability or a combination of factors. Thus, their services, operating guidelines, and structure reflected the need to be inclusive and accessible. They did regular and extensive community outreach, established a francophone services collective and worked closely with other organizations to identify and work to solve problems caused by gaps in service. The Board was made up of both staff, volunteers and community members, and the organization was operated as a collective, with everyone sharing in the decision making process. Decision-making positions could not be held by men, although they could have limited access to services and information.

Like many women's organizations, Women's Place faced its share of financial problems, relying for funding on individual donations and government grants. In September 1986, only a few months after their official opening, their budget was reduced from $80,000 to $40,000, necessitating the cutting of 3 full time positions and many services. Another cut, in 1987, was met with a huge fundraising effort which included a reception for Bonnie Robichaud on Parliament Hill, film nights, a poetry reading, dances, a March for Peace and a music night. Since 1988, Women's Place/Place aux Femmes has relied mainly on grants from the provincial and local governments. In 1991, it moved from Besserer Street to Bruyère Street, where it rented the top half of a local community centre from the City of Ottawa.


  • Instelling
  • 1979-1989

Broadside: A Feminist Review began publication in October 1979 and produced 10 issues a year until its demise in September 1989. Until then, the paper met its publication goals regularly with two exceptions: a mail strike and faulty equipment. Published in Toronto, Broadside was heavily weighted to Ontario. Attempts were made to link other Canadian correspondents to issues on a regular basis, however these were not consistently sustained.

Behind the production of Broadside was a volunteer collective whose goal was to publish a tabloid-size newspaper that would provide a forum for all women, to encourage dialogue, and to provide a feminist perspective on a range of subjects. The publication was committed to publishing reviews, analyses of women’s issues and feminist perspectives on world events. Articles about the Vietnamese Boat People, nuclear power, and Amnesty International shared space with articles on sexual assault, pornography, child care, pay equity, and abortion. There was always a large arts component along with critical commentary on popular culture.

Collective membership varied and current members were identified in the mastheads. The members of the collective had a variety of backgrounds and skills. These included volunteering skills for layout, editorial functions, fundraising, subscription services, circulation and distribution. Original collective members included Eve Zaremba, Philinda Masters, Deena Rasky, Beverly Allinson, Heather Brown, Susan G. Cole, Debra Curties, Judith Lawrence, Alex Maas, Jacqueline Frewin, and Susan Sturman.

From 1979 to 1988 Broadside had one paid employee, the editor, Philinda Masters. While the Broadside collective was responsible for the paper’s overall functioning, day to day decisions fell on the editor’s shoulders. Masters resigned in 1988 due to increasing financial and personal duress. During the mid-1980s summer students were hired under federal and provincial job programs. Some of the students continued to participate with the paper’s production as collective members.

Throughout its existence, the paper operated under the constant risk of financial doom. Support was raised mainly from advertisers, subscribers, and government grants. Some fundraising efforts sponsored by Broadside included dances, concerts, and a strawberry brunch. The collective initiated direct mail campaigns to boost subscriber lists and revenue.

The editorial collective attempted to continue the paper’s production, but found the combination of burn-out and financial pressures overwhelming. Volume 10, No.4 was published in February 1989, but there was no March issue. A meeting was called in an effort to encourage another group to take over production. Lacking further support, Broadside published the tenth anniversary and final issue (Volume 10, No.5) in August/September of 1989. The collective received funding for the final issue from personal donations and the Ontario Women’s Directorate.

Several collective members, participated in organizing the 1986 Canadian Feminist Periodicals (CFP) Conference. This conference was an initiative that grew out of the efforts of members of the Canadian Periodicals Publishers Association to strengthen the Feminist base within Quebec. Their first conference was held in 1985 in Quebec.

Significant contributors to Broadside included: Myrna Kostash, Susan G. Cole, Eve Zaremba, Marlene Nourbese Philip, Ann Cameron, Dorothy Heanut, Banuta Rubess, Angela Miles, Margaret Atwood, Joanne Kates, and Eleanor Wachtel.

Canadian Women’s Studies Association (CWSA)

  • Instelling
  • 1982-

The Canadian Women’s Studies Association (CWSA) was founded in 1982 at the Learned Societies’ Conference in Ottawa. As a bilingual association of Women’s Studies practitioners across Canada, the CWSA’s mandate is to provide a professional network for Women’s Studies specialists and to promote and foster women’s studies as an academic discipline. The CWSA was a member of the Canadian Humanities Federation, the Social Science Federation of Canada and later, when these two organizations merged, the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada (HSSFC). In conjunction with the HSSFC, they sponsor an annual conference. The CWSA has published a biannual newsletter since 1982.

In 1992, the CWSA issued its first conference programme entitled Weaving alliances: selected papers presented for the Canadian Women’s Studies Association at the 1991 and 1992 Learned Societies Conferences. The CWSA took over the publication of Atlantis, originally a women’s studies journal issued by Mount Saint Vincent University in 1994 when its publication was suspended due to internal disputes.
In 1993, in response to gender equity issues uncovered at the University of Victoria Political Science Department and on other Canadian campuses, the CWSA launched the Chilly Climate Committee to investigate the issue and propose remedies. In 1998, the CWSA website was launched and a cyber-committee was created in order to keep the association apprised of issues concerning women and new communications technology.

Since 2002, Atlantis, under the aegis of the CWSA, has sponsored an annual prize for a monograph in either French or English published during the previous year. The Book Prize was renamed in 2011 to the Outstanding Scholarship Prize. In 2004, the CWSA introduced both the Undergraduate and Graduate Essay Prizes. The essays are anonymously judged by a committee of 3-5 members.

The CWSA continues to promote Women’s Studies as an academic discipline and it continues to sponsor conferences and publish periodicals on the subject.

Advocates for Community-based Training and Education for Women (ACTEW)

  • Instelling
  • 1988-2008
ACTEW, originally Advocates for Community-based Training and Education for Women, was a provincial membership organization for programs that provided community training to women. It began in 1988 as an outgrowth of another provincial umbrella group, ONESTEP, Ontario Network of Skills Training and Employment Programs. The women's organizations belonging to ONESTEP decided they needed a more women-centered, feminist organization to represent their specific needs. ACTEW changed its name in 2004 to A Women's Training Community. Over the years that ACTEW existed the organization published many reports, briefs and responses to government initiatives including: Access Diminished: A report on women's training and employment services in Ontario (2001); Challenges and Connections: Meeting the Information Needs of Professionals Working with Immigrant Women (2001), Operation Access (1989), Choosing Training, Shortcuts to Career Development Resources for Girls and Women. The group dissolved in 2008 due to lack of funding.
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