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- Corporate body
The Women’s Press (also known as the Canadian Women’s Educational Press) was founded in 1971, by a subgroup of the Toronto Women’s Liberation Movement, one of the first feminist political organizations in Toronto. The initiative for a feminist press grew out of a dissatisfaction with the mainstream publishing community which had rejected Women Unite!, the first compilation of Canadian contemporary feminist writing. Their mandate was to provide an alternative means of making feminist ideas widely accessible and continue their involvement in the growing Canadian women’s movement. The Canadian Women’s Educational Press, more commonly known as the Women’s Press, was started officially on a grant from the Toronto Local Initiates Project (LIP) as a socialist feminist collective publishing feminist fiction, non-fiction and non-sexist children’s books.
In 1988 the Women’s Press began public discussion of an internal dispute regarding a proposed anti-racist policy. The discussions ended in a split within the Press with some original members departing to form the ‘Second Story Press’.
Women’s Press is Canada’s oldest English language feminist publisher. For over forty years, Women’s Press has played an integral role in the proliferation of high-quality Canadian writing in the fields of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies
- Corporate body
The origins of what later became the CWMA/ACMF were the records of the Toronto feminist newspaper The Other Woman. When the newspaper ceased publication in 1977, Pat Leslie, editor of The Other Woman, moved the newspaper’s records into her apartment and was the custodian of the first Canadian Women’s Archives (CWMA) documents. From 1977 until 1982, she preserved The Other Woman records and some additional material relating to the Canadian Women’s Movement in her apartment. In 1983, working with a group of women including Nancy Adamson, Sandy Fox, Weisia Kolansinka and Lorna Weir under the banner of the NGO the Women’s Information Center (WIC) , a registered Canadian charity, an application was made for a Canada Community Development Grant. This allowed the group to rent a room in a building on the corner of Spadina Avenue and College Street in Toronto where they moved the documents from Pat Leslie’s apartment and it was here they began to collect records and documents related to the Canadian Women’s Movement. The CWMA Collective took responsibility for the collection from 1983 forward. That collective, which changed in membership over the years, operated the Canadian Women’s Movement Archives/ACMF, until it was relocated to the University of Ottawa in 1992. Members of the collective who were active for a significant period of time included: Nancy Adamson, Jane Abray, Karen Dubinsky, Sandy Fox, Debbie A. Green, Luanne Karn, Andrea Knight, Weisia Kolasinska, Pat Leslie, Anne Molgat, Beth McAuley, Joanne Pelletier, Margaret Shepherd, Miriam Ticoll, Tori Smith, and Lorna Weir.
After the opening of the public CWMA in 1983/84, the collection was catalogued and became available to researchers. Various grants, annual yard sales, and other fundraising allowed the CWMA/ACMF collective to hire staff from time to time, to actively collect the records of women’s groups across Canada and to promote the CWMA/ACMF. In 1991 the Collective decided that it was no longer possible to maintain the CWMA/ACMF as an independent organization and sought interest from other archives and universities in the collection. The Collective felt that the collection’s credibility rested on the fact that it came out of the women’s movement and was nurtured by feminists and operated in a manner consistent with those principles. As much as possible the Collective wanted to place the collection with an institution that would respect that. Ultimately, the Collective decided to donate the CWMA/ACMF records to the University of Ottawa. Both parties agreed that the CWMA/ACMF collection would be maintained in its entirety as a separate collection with the hope that additional records from the Canadian women’s movement would be collected by the Archives and Special Collections.
In 1992 the CWMA/ACMF records were donated to the University of Ottawa, who “took over the CWMA/ACMF’s mandate” and started accepting new donations that would become a part of an ongoing collection documenting the groups and individuals who made up the Canadian Women’s Movement.
Lisa Bengtsson was born in 1951. She grew up in Naikina, Ontario–a single industry rail town. From 1974-2007, Lisa Bengtsson worked for the Secretary of State, Women’s Program, for the Northwestern Ontario district—the region in Ontario bordered by Manitoba, White River, and James Bay.
Lisa Bengtsson delivered human rights-based programs, including the Aboriginal Women’s Program, the Friendship Centre Program, the Voluntary Action Program, and the Disabled Persons Program. In the mid-1990s, she transferred from the Secretary of State to Employment and Immigration. Finally she moved to the Status of Women Canada. Her work focussed on project funding, skill development, organizational development, strategic planning, action research, and advocacy.
Lisa Bengtsson was also a program officer for organizations such as the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses and the Ontario Native Women’s Association. She participated in issue-based partnerships with local Thunder Bay organizations, such as women’s training opportunities, (1992-94), family violence, (1978-85), and women in conflict with the law, (2003-2006).
Lisa Bengtsson undertook a major post audit of family violence funding (1989) and managed the Northwestern Ontario Secretary of State district office, (mid-1980s). She also managed the Women’s Program, Ontario Region, (mid-1990s.) She served on internal committees at the national level concerning the prevention of family violence, (1991-92,1997).
Lisa Bengtsson’s volunteer and professional work were grounded in the Secretary of State mandate, “to increase citizen’s participation in decisions affecting the quality of their lives.” In 2005, Lisa Bengtsson was awarded the Ontario Federal Council Leadership Through Collaboration Award, as a result of her partnership with the Equay Wuk Women’s Group of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
Nemiroff was president of the Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI), an international non-governmental organization, when it moved to Montreal. In 1979, with the help of students and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute community members, she edited the first Simone de Beauvoir Institute Bulletin.
At the end of the 1980s, Greta Nemiroff was a project manager at the Canadian Congress for Learning Opportunities for Women (CCLOW). She was president-elect at the Canadian Women Studies Association (CWSA) for the year 1991-1992. Between 1991 and 1996, she chaired the joint Women’s Studies program at Ottawa University and Carleton University.