Women Plan Toronto

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Authorized form of name

Women Plan Toronto

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  • WPT

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Description area

Dates of existence

1985-2004

History

In 1982, a ground-breaking conference about gender perspective on urban issues was organized in Toronto by Women In/And Planning (WIAP). It sought to examine the underlying disconnections between urban planning practices and women’s needs.

In 1985, the creation of Women Plan Toronto (WPT) was inspired by an article in Women Environment about Women Plan London (WPL) in the UK. Reggie Modlich was a founding member of WPT and its main coordinator. It was supported by a grant from the federal government via the Status of Women agency as well as by WIAP.
Reggie Modlich defined WPT as ‘a grassroots women’s organization that uses participatory methods to involve diverse women in changing urban planning processes and outcomes in Toronto. Its purpose is to raise awareness and advocate alternatives for addressing women’s planning concerns’.

WPT was composed of a voluntary committee called ‘circles’ in order to avoid the traditional male hierarchical structure of organization. All members who attended a meeting could be part of the decision-making process. Thus, WPT started to exploring gender issues in urban planning by holding informal discussions. Women from various social backgrounds were invited to talk about their experiences and ideas relating to Toronto’s urban environment. The groups explored issues related to child care, public transit, personal safety, municipal governance and elections, housing, and urban planning.

Barbara Loevinger Rahder explains that ‘the structure of the organization, fluctuated with its memberships, depending on who is involved what their interests are, and what issues are on the public agenda (or put on the public agenda by WPT). There [was] one part-time staff member, and a core of about seven or eight volunteers who [were] usually very active in the circles and on various projects. Another fifty women or so [were] less active members, and up to another 3000 individuals and organizations [were] part of a broader network which [was] kept informed and sometimes mobilized around important issues and events’.

From 1985 to 1998, WPT took up various issues and started executing various projects. In this way, during the 1980s and 1990s, WPT had a direct impact on urban planning in Toronto: ‘For more than a decade, the organization has worked to focus attention on women’s needs in the city, to critique the inequities of mainstream planning, and to develop alternative visions of what planning and urban life would be like if women diverse needs were taken into account’.

In 2004, Toronto Women’s City Alliance (TWCA) succeeded WPT.

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  • Clipboard

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  • EAC

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