Western's Caucus on Women's Issues


WCWI Timeline of Events l Women at UWO Timeline

Western's Caucus on Women's Issues Timeline of Events

     In the recent past, a successful attempt was made to unravel the archival history of an organization that set out to create solidarity among women in all levels of employment at Western. This timeline and digital gallery was made possible by accessing a dozen boxes that housed Caucus newsletters, correspondences, campus and local news, reports, agendas, research and general Caucus matters.

     Most valuable to the construction of this timeline was the past Caucus newsletters. Significant details of Caucus activities, life, announcements and business were recorded. Included in past issues were poems, comics, recipes, essay awards book reviews, research, promotions and general information of interest to Caucus members.


  • An Ad hoc Committee from the President's Advisory Committee on the status of women is established. The following year they release a report on the Status of Women at Western. Members of the committee included B. Campbell (chairperson), E. Bieman, G. Brent, S. Desmond, L. Forsyth and D. Nutt. This report addresses issues of Western's women not yet being full participants in the University's activities and that the same women on campus are at a serious disadvantage in the circumstances of their employment.

1980-1985  l   1986 -1990   l   1991 - 1995   l   1996 - Present
Caucus Past Presidents



  • Hear Ye! Hear Ye the Call! In January, the first town hall meeting of UWO faculty women is held.

  • Western's Caucus on Women's Issues firmly establishes itself on campus with Anne Bolgan as its first president. (See list of past presidents)

  • November - Anne Bolgan tells Western News that about 100 members were involved with the Caucus.



  • Caucus presents to the University's administration a brief on the status of women at Western that contains a proposal for affirmative action. A Caucus subcommittee prepares the report with full approval of the general membership.

  • Caucus and Canadian Congress on Learning Opportunities jointly sponsor a workshop on affirmative action with Ms. Beth Symes as the guest speaker for Women (London ON chapter).


  • Caucus hosts Women's Legal History/Violence Against Women in the 19th Century. The December event features Connie Backhouse.


  • February - Caucus submits the Status of Women at Western: A Current Appraisal and Recommendation for Change, to the Ad Hoc Senate Committee to Review Appointments, Promotion, and Tenure Policies and Procedures.


1986 - 1990


  • Caucus works with Louise Tamblyn, one of Western's first sexual harassment officers, to releases its first video, Breaking the Trust dealing with sexual harassment. The video's premier is held during the fall general meeting and is well attended with representation from the Provost's office, MP Tom Hockin's office, and Kem Murch, the producer of the video.
  • Caucus and UWOSA jointly organize a lecture given by MPP Joan Smith. The lecture is part of the Noon Hour Speaker Series on Women's Issues.

  • Caucus hosts a special event, an interdisciplinary conference, Heroines and Harlots: Representation of the Feminine in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The participants come from a number of different departments, including guest lecturer Rebecca V. Coleman.


  • Caucus sponsors a lecture given by Sylvia Gold, President of Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. The spring lecture addresses Fine Balances: Equal Status for Women in Canada in the 1990's.

  • The Centre for Women's Studies and Feminist Research is established.
    Kathleen Okruhlik becomes the first Director of the new centre.


  • Connie Backhouse issues her report on employment equity at Western.

  • Caucus holds a summer town hall meeting with members and other interested women for the creation of a Standing Committee on Employment Equity. The committee aims to investigate and rectify the inequities that women face at UWO. 260 members of the university's community representing 19 different departments and administrative units sign a petition that circulates on campus.


  • Caucus members design and implement a Report Card on Employment Equity. The questionnaire's findings are used as a basis for planning relevant initiatives address inequities on campus.

  • Caucus membership reaches an all time high of 104 members.

  • November - Connie Backhouse, Roma Harris, Gill Mitchell, and Alison Wylie release the Chilly Climate Report. This report "chills" the university community when details on the treatment of some faculty women are made public.

  • The President of Western publishes a Policy on Employment Equity, and establishes a Standing Committee on Employment Equity.

  • Carol Agocs, Caucus member, is appointed chair of the Standing Committee on Employment Equity.


  • March - Caucus celebrates its 10th anniversary.

  • Geraldine Stephenson and Jennifer Tiller become the first co-winners of the Caucus' student essay award. They are also the first to graduate from the Women's Studies program.

  • December - First Montreal Memorial Book Award is awarded. The award recognizes the female student with the highest average going into the second year of Engineering.


1991 - 1995


  • A commemorative newsletter in honour of Mary Campbell is created for the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Caucus newsletter. It was Campbell who, at the first general meeting proposed that Caucus be open to all employee groups.

  • Caucus releases its second video, Chilly Climate for Women in Colleges and Universities. The video is released in two formats, one with materials of interest to First Nations groups and the other with an academic focus.


  • Caucus sponsors workshops on Women in the Middle Years, The Chilly Climate: Warming the Environment and Work and the Family.


  • The first Person's Day celebration is organized. The October event is co-sponsored by Caucus and London's Status of Women Action Group.

  • December - Caucus and Women's Issues Commission work closely planning a joint memorial for the Montreal Massacre. Approximately 200 participants come for the showing of After the Massacre. The event ends with a candle light vigil.


  • Caucus joins forces with the Faculty of Nursing and Women's Studies to present Issues of gender and Culture in Conducting Research.

  • Newly appointed president, Paul Davenport, speaks at the fall general meeting, sharing his thoughts on the status of women and equity issues.

  • Second annual Persons Day Dinner is held at the Marienbad Restaurant. The event is co-sponsored by Caucus and London's Status of Women Action Group. The event features Connie Backhouse and Dr. Emily Emily (Roma Harris' alter ego).

  • Leela Madhava Rau, Caucus member and Race Relations Officer, resigns. Caucus awards Rau with the Madame Bhikaijs Rustomij Cama Medal in honour of her leadership in educating people about inequities and discrimination.


  • Caucus presents to the Strategic Planning Task Force on Equity a presentation to ensure that equity is incorporated throughout the University's policies.

  • Caucus releases its third video, Backlash: Resistance to Change. The video is released in two formats: one in English and the other with a significant First Nations focus.

  • Caucus, Womensline Books, and UWO Women's Issues Network present Susan Cole, who reads from her collections of essays, Power Surge: Sex, Violence and Pornography.

  • Caucus and 150 guests celebrated100 years of women at Western. Leola Neal, last Dean of Women, is recognized.


1996 - Present


  • Caucus hosts Self-Care in an Age of Expendability. Time is well spent by discussing and celebrating the primary importance of self-nurturance, as well-spring of energy and courage for facing a life in which radical change is the only constraint.


  • Caucus brought together its constituents on campus to host a workshop for women employees at Western. The event, Women at Western: Strengthening Our Community was well attended and reviewed.


  • Caucus sponsors a showcase of women's research in the Social Science building.


  • Caucus celebrates its 20th Anniversary.


  • Caucus accepts a proposal to help create a facilitator's manual for a video production on sexual harassment, The Way Forward: Rethinking the Problem of Workplace Sexual Harassment.

  • In the fall, Constance Backhouse and Nancy Kendall are both named honourary Lifetime Members of Caucus.

  • An online discussion group, "UWO Purple Circles", is created to allow Caucus members a forum to freely exchange information, opinions and ideas.


  • At an October Executive meeting, a Deed of Gift is signed by Caucus executives and Robin Kierstead, the University's archivist, for the Caucus archives to be officially handed over to the ARCC.

  • Caucus and Women's Studies invite the University's community to a Showcase of Women's Research at University College. The event features participants from Kinesiology, Economics, Education, Sociology, Philosophy, FIMS, Engineering, Biology, Medicine and Geography.


Selected Images from WCWI Archives

Poster Advertising First Town Hall Meeting
Poster of First Town Hall Meeting

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Poster Advertising First Women's Studies

Courses offered at UWO

Poster Advertising  First Women's Studies Courses offered at UWO

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First WCWI Newsletter

First WCWI Newsletter

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Poster of Heroines & Harlots: Representation of the Feminine in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Poster of Heroines & Harlots

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WCWI 10th Anniversary Poster
10th Anniversary Poster

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WCWI 10th Anniversary Newsletter

10th Anniversary Newsletter

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Chilly Climate Video Cover

Video Cover

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After the Massacre

After the Massacre Poster
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First Person's Day Poster

First Person's Day Poster

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Backlash: Resistance to Change Video Cover

Video Cover

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WCWI Sponsored Workshops
WCWI Sponsored Workshop Poster
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Showcase of Women's Research

Showcase of Women's Research Brochure Cover

Showcase: Iside Brochure
Showcase: Back Cover
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WCWI Essay Awards Poster

WCWI  Essay Award Poster|
Essay Award Poster

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Person's Day Poster

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