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CRIAW-ICREF est « un institut de recherche qui offre des outils pour aider les organisations à agir afin de promouvoir la justice sociale et l’égalité pour toutes les femmes » (criaw-icref.ca, consulté le 3 juin 2021). CRIAW-ICREF est une organisation canadienne à but non lucratif basée sur les membres. Elle privilégie le développement de la recherche féministe et sa diffusion à des fins d’éducation et de défense de droits. Elle est la seule organisation féministe nationale bilingue au Canada privilégiant exclusivement la recherche.
L’ICREF été fondé par des féministes - universitaires, membres de la communauté et activistes - dans le sillage de l'Année internationale de la femme (1975) pour répondre au manque de recherches existantes sur les femmes et leurs expériences. Le congrès de fondation de l’organisation constitué de soixante-dix membres, s’est tenu à Ottawa en avril 1976. Durant ce congrès, les objectifs ont été établis, les statuts adoptés, un conseil d’administration élu, et le nom de la nouvelle organisation a été choisi, soit l’Institut canadien de recherches sur les femmes. En novembre 1976, une tribune sur la recherche et les femmes s’est tenue à l’Université Mount Saint Vincent à Halifax. Cette rencontre a constitué les prémices du colloque annuel de l’ICREF, qui se tiendra partout au Canada, de Halifax à Vancouver, jusqu’à Yellowknife. Les objectifs des membres fondateurs ont été « d’encourager, de coordonner et de diffuser la recherche sur le vécu des femmes et d’assurer à celles-ci une place égale dans l’ensemble des connaissances et des recherches sur le Canada, son peuple, sa culture, son économie et ses politiques » (Une brève histoire de l’ICREF, document préparé par Linda Clippingdale). Dès 1977, l’Institut prépare sa première publication, un répertoire de la recherche sur les femmes et le travail sous la direction de Susan Mann Trofimenkoff. Dès 1978, l’ICREF a décerné un certain nombre de subventions chaque année, finançant ainsi des centaines de projets entrepris par des chercheuses communautaires et universitaires. Naomi Griffiths, Susan Mann-Trofimenkoff et Francine Fournier sont devenues les premières membres honoraires de l’ICREF en 1980. Entre autres, un prix nommé en l’honneur de Muriel Duckworth (présidente de l’ICREF de 1979 à 1980) a été mis en place. L’ICREF a lancé deux séries de documents. "Les Documents de l’ICREF" sont parus pour la première fois en 1980, et "Perspectives féministes" a vu le jour en 1985. En 1981, l’ICREF commence a publié un Bulletin trimestriel à l’intension de ses membres. En 1982, il publie pour la première fois les Actes de son colloque.
Les premières années de l’ICREF ont été marquées par la recherche d’une source de financement stable. En 1979, l’ICREF obtient une aide financière au fonctionnement conséquente du Programme de promotion de la femme du Secrétariat d’État, qui lui permet d’acquérir une stabilité financière. Ainsi, l’ICREF déménage, engage du personnel et peut ainsi offrir une gamme plus étendue de services à ses membres. Cependant au-delà du financement reçu du gouvernement canadien, et depuis ses débuts, les activités de l’Institut ont été financées par diverses sources, notamment par des dons, les cotisations des membres, la vente de publications, mais également grâce au soutien de diverses associations telles que l’Association des Universités et Collèges du Canada.
Dans les années 1990, l’ICREF a modifié ses pratiques pour une plus grande inclusivité. Face aux multiples formes d’inégalités et d’oppression non prises en compte par le mouvement des femmes, l’organisation a réfléchi à l’application de l’intersectionnalité dans ses programmes et sa structure organisationnelle. Plusieurs conférences ont vu le jour (Femmes et handicap en 1990; Faire les liens en 1992). Les structures organisationnelles de l’ICREF ont fait l’objet d’un examen, et un comité d’éthique de la recherche a vu le jour (1994). Dans le début des années 2000, l’ICREF a souhaité intensifier ses efforts pour une analyse féministe intégrée (AFI) plus approfondie. Ainsi, l’organisation a restructuré son conseil d’administration (2001) pour une représentation plus diversifiée des groupes d’équité identifiés : femmes racisées, femmes en situation de handicap, lesbiennes et les bisexuelles, femmes transgenres, femmes autochtones, une plus grande représentation régionale, membres du conseil d’administration représenté par au moins 25% de francophones). Elle a également élaboré un plan stratégique centré sur la question de l’intersectionnalité.
L’ICREF a soutenu et mené de nombreux projets de recherche portant sur les femmes au Canada. Vers le milieu de sa première décennie, l’ICREF a mis au point deux grands projets : la Banque de chercheuses et le Répertoire des périodiques pour femmes canadiennes. Les membres de l’ICREF ont présenté de nombreux mémoires au nom de l’égalité des femmes, notamment des mémoires au CRTC sur le sexisme dans les médias, au Groupe d’étude fédéral-provincial sur les victimes du crime, au Comité fédéral d’examen de la politique culturelle, à la Commission MacDonald, au Groupe d’étude fédéral sur la garde des enfants, et à la Commission royale d’enquête sur les nouvelles technologies de reproduction. Parmi les nombreux projets entrepris, l’ICREF a participé à : l’étude pilote « La participation des femmes à la vie politique » commandée par l’UNESCO (1985-1988); une trousse de ressources communautaires sur les nouvelles technologies de reproduction qui a servi à la préparation des mémoires pour la Commission royale sur les nouvelles technologies de reproduction (1988-1990); la participation des femmes canadiennes à la Conférence mondiale sur les femmes de 1995 à Beijing; une recherche-action participative sur les effets sociaux, politiques et culturels du développement économique dans le nord du Canada pour les femmes (FemNorthNet); une recherche pancanadienne sur les impacts des changements dans l’emploi et la prestation des services publics sur les femmes (Changing Public Services).
CRIAW-ICREF is "a research institute that provides tools to help organizations take action to promote social justice and equality for all women" (criaw-icref.ca, accessed June 3, 2021). CRIAW-ICREF is a Canadian non-profit, member-based organization. It depends on the support of its members and donors. It focuses on the development of feminist research and its dissemination for educational and advocacy purposes. It is the only national bilingual feminist organization in Canada that focuses exclusively on research.
CRIAW was founded by feminists, academics, community members and activists, in the wake of International Women's Year (1975) to address the lack of existing research on women and their experiences. The founding conference, with seventy members, was held in Ottawa in April 1976. During this conference, objectives were established, by-laws adopted, a Board of Directors elected, and the name of the new organization was chosen, the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women. In November 1976, a forum on research and women was held at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. This meeting was the beginning of CRIAW's annual conference, which will be held across Canada from Halifax to Vancouver to Yellowknife. The objectives of the founding members were "to encourage, coordinate and disseminate research on women's experiences and to ensure that women have an equal place in the body of knowledge and research on Canada, its people, culture, economy and politics" (A Brief History of CRIAW, prepared by Linda Clippingdale). By 1977, the Institute was preparing its first publication, an inventory of research on women and work, edited by Susan Mann Trofimenkoff. Beginning in 1978, CRIAW awarded several grants each year, funding hundreds of projects undertaken by community and academic researchers. Naomi Griffiths, Susan Mann-Trofimenkoff and Francine Fournier became CRIAW's first honorary members in 1980. Among other prices, an award named in honour of Muriel Duckworth (CRIAW president from 1979 to 1980) was established. CRIAW launched two series of documents. “CRIAW Papers” was first published in 1980 and “Feminist Perspectives” was launched in 1985. In 1981, CRIAW began publishing a quarterly newsletter for its members. In 1982, it published its first conference proceedings.
CRIAW's early years were marked by the search for a stable source of funding. In 1979, CRIAW received substantial operating funding from the Secretary of State's Women's Program, which gave it financial stability. CRIAW moved, hired staff and was able to offer a wider range of services to its members. However, beyond the funding received from the Canadian government, since its inception, the Institute's activities have been funded from a variety of sources, including donations, membership fees, sales of publications, and support from various associations such as the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
In the 1990s, CRIAW changed its practices to become more inclusive. In front of multiple forms of inequality and oppression not addressed by the women's movement, the organization reflected on the application of intersectionality in its programs and organizational structure. Several conferences were held (Women and Disability in 1990; Making the Links in 1992). CRIAW's organizational structures were reviewed, and a research ethics committee was established (1994). In the early 2000s, CRIAW wanted to intensify its efforts towards a more in-depth integrated feminist analysis (IFA). Thus, the organization restructured its Board of Directors (2001) to ensure a more diverse representation of identified equity groups: racialized women, women with disabilities, lesbian and bisexual women, transgendered women, Aboriginal women, greater regional representation, and at least 25% Francophone board members). It has also developed a strategic plan that focuses on the issue of intersectionality.
CRIAW has supported and conducted numerous research projects related to women in Canada. Midway through its first decade, CRIAW developed two major projects: the Women's Research Bank and the Canadian Women's Periodical Directory. CRIAW members have made numerous submissions on behalf of women's equality, including submissions to the CRTC on sexism in the media, the Federal-Provincial Task Force on Victims of Crime, the Federal Cultural Policy Review Committee, the MacDonald Commission, the Federal Task Force on Child Care, and the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies. Among the many projects undertaken, CRIAW has participated in: the pilot study " Women’s Involvement in Political Life" commissioned by UNESCO (1985-1988); a community resource kit on new reproductive technologies that was used to prepare briefs for the Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies (1988-1990); Canadian women's participation in the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing; participatory action research on the social, political and cultural effects of economic development in northern Canada on women (FemNorthNet); pan-Canadian research on the impacts of changes in employment and public service delivery on women (Changing Public Services).
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The Canadian Women’s Health Network (CWHN) was established by a group of women representing 70 organizations that worked within the women’s health movement. The CWHNN consisted of a network of individuals, groups and organizations working to address gender inequality in health systems–both within Canada and around the world. The organization aimed to provide women-centred health information through networking, resource-sharing, education, and advocacy.
The Canadian Women’s Health Network also addressed contemporary issues relating to women’s health, including inequitable health policies and practices. The organization disseminated health information online and established its ‘Clearinghouse,’ a centralized collection of women-centred health resources and networks. The CWHN’s branches of activities also included the production of “Network/Le Réseau,” a bilingual health magazine.
The CWHN conducted extended community outreach to speak to women’s health and health issues in diverse contexts. The organization also worked within the Women’s Health Contribution Program, Health Canada, and communicated the researching findings of its affiliated partners, such as the Centres of Excellence for Women’s Health and le Réseau québécois d’action pour la santé des femmes.
The CWHN consisted of a Coordinating Committee, as well as a Board of Directors. The CWHN suspended operations in 2014 due to lack of federal funding; the Board of Directors continued to operate for several years, before closing permanently in 2017.
In 1979, she was appointed to the Task Force on Sex-Role Stereotyping in the Broadcast Media established by the Canadian minister responsible for the status of women. The Task Force was meant to examine the portrayal of women in popular media and developed guidelines for its improvement. Then, Sylvia Spring co-founded MediaWatch Canada, a watchdog organization dedicating to eliminating sexism in the media and became its first National Director. Sylvia Spring has spoken in national and international forums to raise awareness about the representation of women in the media. She has designed and facilitated workshops and lectures for agencies such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). In January 2000, as a communication consultant, she travelled to China with Bonnie Diamond, NAWL’s executive Director, to conduct workshops with grassroots Chinese women on the information dissemination techniques used by women’s group in Canada (Nawl.ca, consulted 2021-06-02).
In 1995, she produced Voices and Visions, a documentary series from the UN World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. In 1996, she produced the documentary Breaking the Silence: Stories from AIDS Activists in Southern Africa. The documentary tells the stories of women working at the front lines of the AIDS epidemic. In 2000, she produced 20th Century Gals (According to Babe), which explored the women's movement of the 20th century. In 2005, she co-produced Our bodies...their battleground, a documentary about the sexual violence crisis facing women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia.
Patricia Lucille Nelson was born in Montreal in 1953. Although her mother was from Alberta and her father from British Columbia, Nelson and her four siblings grew up in Laval West and St-Eustache (Québec). She studied the humanities and languages at Vanier College in Saint-Laurent, printing at Ahuntsic College in Montreal and worked at Classic Books before moving to British Columbia in 1974.
Nelson quickly settled in Vancouver and started working in a screen printing shop in Burnaby. She lived in a coop house and, in 1975, she joined Press Gang. Here she worked on a voluntary basis and became a press operator. This is also the time when she came out as a lesbian and decided to informally change her name to Lou, a shortened version of her middle name, in honor of the occasion. It is also when she became involved more actively in the feminist, socialist and unionist movement that prevailed in Vancouver in those years. For example, she joined the NDP in September 1974. The following year, she participated in the occupation of the Vancouver Canada Manpower Centre Office to pressure the Canadian Government to make real changes regarding women and work. She worked at and supported Press Gang by involving herself in numerous fundraising activities and helped organize the 1979 Conference on Women and Work. “In order to sustain herself”, she ran Simon Fraser University Student Society’s print shop for four years. While working at SFU, she also got involved with the feminist union Service Office and Retail Workers Union (SORWUC).
In 1983, she moved back to Montreal where she entered the Translation Program at Concordia University. During her studies there, she worked part time at Concordia’s student society print shop. She graduated in 1987 and became a freelance translator. Still loyal to her feminist beliefs in this new profession, she translated works from Anne-Marie Alonzo, Nicole Brossard, Louise Dupré and Monique Bégin.
Nelson’s love of words goes a long way back. For instance, she kept diaries for years. In 1978, she even wrote in one of them that she would like to become a fiction writer by age 35. Part of her diary was also published in the anthology Our lives, Lesbian Personal Writings (Second Story Press, 1991). She was actively involved with an organization called Women and Words throughout the 1980’s.
Lou Nelson left her last lesbian partner in 1989. She now lives with her husband in southern Québec and works as a freelance translator, with plans to retire in 2022.
- Corporate body
The Canadian Federation of University Women/Ottawa (CFUW-O) was formed in April 14th, 1910 and incorporated under the name of University Women Club of Ottawa (UWC-O). It was formed by women graduates of various universities living in Ottawa. UWC denomination was changed in 1991 to Canadian Federation of University Women of Ottawa (CFUW-O). The club is a voluntary, self-funded, non-partisan, non-profit organization, open to all women. It is dedicated to the promotion of equality, social justice, fellowship, and life-long learning for women and girls. It provides opportunities to members to socialize, educate and advocate.
The organisation offers opportunities for friendship, learning as part of external outreach groups. Study and interest groups for a wide range of interests including outdoor activities, indoor games, cuisine, book clubs, art, public affairs, music have been formed. Various events have been organized during which expert speakers intervened on educational, political, social, and cultural issues with a focus on equality for women and girls.
UWC/CFUW-O members work on local issues. Their advocacy is always based on policies which have been approved by their members. The UWC was admitted in 1919 to membership in the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW). The UWC/CFUW-O is also part of Graduate Women International (GWI), formerly International Federation of University Women (IFUM). The UWC/CFUW-O has also been active in both the affairs of the CFUW and the IFUW. They support CFUW-Ontario Council on provincial issues, and the CFUW National Board on national and international issues.
In 1913, the Drama Reading Circle was started. This group grew into the Ottawa Little Theatre. During the First World War, many members were involved in volunteer service with the Red Cross and St. John’s Ambulance. In 1951, the Penal Reform Study Group was responsible for the organization of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Ottawa. In the 60s, the UWC participated in the initiation of the School Volunteer Project “Step By Step”, and the Diplomatic Hospitality Committee was initiated. This committee welcomed hundred of diplomatic visitors to Canada.
The organisation supports university and college students through scholarships and awards. The club began to award university scholarships in 1935. The Scholarship Trust Fund (STF) was formed in September 1983. The purpose of Scholarship Trust Fund is to encourage and support the study and research of those seeking higher education. Through annual appeals, proceeds from various fundraising events, investing, members and friends’ donations, the Fund has given in university scholarship and awards.
Dr. Charlotte Whitton former Mayor of Ottawa, and well-known women have been presidents of the UWC/CFUW-O.