Western's Caucus on Women's Issues

Spring l-2001 Newsletter


Greetings from Margaret Kellow, Caucus President
2000 Women's Caucus Essay Award Winner
The Constitution of the University of Western Ontario Caucus on Women's Issues
Announcements and Events
Speakers on Feminism and Women's Issues On Campus
Brown Bag Lunch Series
Contact your Caucus
New Caucus Members

Greetings From Margaret Kellow, Caucus President

Membership Has its Privileges . . . and Its Responsibilities

Last year Western's Caucus on Women's Issues celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a public lecture in Conron Hall followed by a reception in the Faculty Lounge of University College. However, as I'm sure most of you know, much of what Women's Caucus does is quiet, behind-the-scenes advocacy regarding issues of concern to women in the Western community. So at times we seem to present a relatively low profile. Nevertheless, through its involvement in matters such as women's safety issues, pay equity initiatives, lobbying for enhanced daycare facilities and urging fairer levels of support for graduate students, Caucus has become an important voice for women on this campus. In pursuit of the goal of materially improving conditions for all women in the University community, Caucus has achieved standing on important university committees including the President's Standing Committee on Employment Equity (PSCEE), UWOFA's Status of Women Committee, the President's Standing Committee on Women's Safety and others and is regularly consulted on a wide range of issues relating to women. It also serves as a liaison to community organizations such as the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), the Federal Secretariat on the Status of Women, and the London Feminist History Group among others. In the last few years, we have run Brown Bag Lunchtime Lecture series, Workshops for Pre-Tenure Faculty Women and Senior Graduate Students, Essay Contests for Graduate and Undergraduate Women, a Workshop on Job-Related Stress, Displays of Research by women at Western and many other initiatives. Looking back somewhat further, Caucus played an important role in the establishment of the Centre for Women's Studies and Feminist Research and in publicizing the findings of the Chilly Climate report. When campus organizations or the administration want to know what women here at Western are thinking, they consult with Caucus.

As all sectors of the University brace for the challenge of the Double Cohort, issues of concern to women are bound to arise. Caucus has already participated in the drafting of a brief to the President's Strategic Planning Committee. For this reason it is extremely important that we maintain an extensive membership. We cannot claim to represent the constituency of women here at Western unless we have the membership numbers to back it up. We are all overworked and burdened with personal and family responsibilities, but each of us can have an impact on women's experience here at Western simply by renewing Caucus memberships if you have not already done so, and by letting our female colleagues know about Caucus and encouraging them to become members also. Why not forward this newsletter to a few friends at Western? All it takes is a few clicks and you will have made a real contribution.

Best Wishes for 2001,
Margaret Kellow, President
Western's Caucus on Women's Issues

2000 Women's Caucus Essay Award Winner

Once again the Essay Award has been a resounding success. More than 30 students submitted papers to the 2000 Essay Award Committee. Due to the high quality of the submissions, two papers were selected for the award. "Washerwomen and Whoremongers: The Personal Journal of Xanthippe" by Murrielle Gaetane Michaud, appeared in the last issue of the newsletter.


"Women United in the Struggle for Equality" by Kukdooka Terri Brown, President of NAC (from "Action Now", volume 10, issue 2, Fall 2000)
"I was recently elected as the First Aboriginal president of NAC. It is an honour and a great privilege to represent the equality-seeking women of this country called Canada. While I am not a 'citizen' of Canada, I am a Tahltan First Nation's Woman; my country is Tahltan Country in the vicinity of Telegraph Creek on Turtle Island.

I became involved with the women's movement and NAC in particular because I saw the organization specifically focusing on giving voice to marginalized women. Sunera Thobani is a great pioneer who blazed the trail for marginalized women to become leaders in the movement. In turn Joan Grant-Cummings, my predecessor, also cleared and prepared for me the trail that is to be my journey.

My vision for NAC is that we will become a stronger, more united voice. We represent some of the most marginalized women in the world. Canada has a terrible track record in terms of its treatment of Aboriginal people and they are the poorest in the country.

Aboriginal people, standing with lesbians, women with disabilities, older women, women of colour and black women do not have access to the social, political and economic tools to effect change in their lives. NAC is a vehicle in which we can pursue equality and justice. It is true that many women have advanced and are represented in more boardrooms and in government offices. However, that group is still too small and remains as exclusive as it is unrepresentative.

While Canada is viewed as a progressive country, systemic discrimination on the basis of gender, class, ability and race have yet to be adequately addressed.

Poverty and violence experienced by women is atrocious. Male violence resulting in the deaths of our sisters must stop. The laws are less than comprehensive and the lack of accountability by government and the lack of caring by those in positions of power and authority has become the 'way of being' that permeates our society.

Women! UNITE and stand up for our rights! What legacy will we leave for our daughters? We all deserve opportunities and recognition to become the best possible women that we can be.

My vision is to break down barriers and obstacles to ensure that our daughters can not only dream but live those dreams. Our time is limited and precious. Let us move ahead and work on building consensus amongst ourselves. Let us not allow ourselves to be pulled into the patriarchal structures without challenging them.

We are witnesses to a historic event in the life of the feminist movement across the globe. Women from over 5000 women's organizations world-wide in 157 countries reorganized and mobilized around the single most important issues of concern to women: Poverty and Violence Against Women.

You no doubt remember the 1995 March of Women in Quebec, organized by the Federation des Femmes du Quebec (FFQ) which inspired the 1996 NAC-CLC-organized Pan-Canadian March Against Poverty: For Bread and Roses. These historic events, coupled with the momentum brought on and built up at the Fourth UN Women's Conference in Beijing, kindled the spark which allowed the FFQ to light the flame and initiate The World March of Women in the Year 2000.

NAC, along side our sister organizations from across the country, member groups and dedicated individuals have been leading an unprecedented mobilization against globalization. We are presenting the federal government with comprehensive demands that would immediately and effectively begin to put measures into place to end poverty and violence against women.

NAC has been front and centre in the lobbying of these important demands and we will continue to lobby and hold our elected officials accountable to the women of Canada. Those demands include adequate healthcare funding and enforcement of rules against privatization, an additional 1% of the federal budget to go to social housing, the immediate set up of a national, non-for-profit childcare program, adequate funding for frontline independent women's centres and shelters, progressive immigration reform, grants for post-secondary education as well as a proactive pay equity legislation. The full and detailed list of the 68 demands can be found in "It's Time for Change", the document developed and produced by the Canadian Women's March Committee of which NAC was a part..."

The following is a news release dating from January 11, 2001 regarding the conclusion of the York University TA's Strike.
"MEDIA ADVISORY CUPE 3903 Ratifies Agreement: Statement

Teaching and graduate assistants voted today to ratify York University's latest offer, ending its 78 day strike. We went on strike to protect teaching assistants and graduate assistants from tuition hikes and to make graduate school more accessible. Teaching assistants won tuition indexation language that we had in our past two collective agreements, protecting ourselves from the rollbacks demanded by York administration. If tuition rises, teaching assistants will continue to get that money back in a tuition rebate. Graduate assistants fought for a fair first contract in which they won summer funding, health benefits, and a decent base wage. They also won the framework for tuition indexation.

This strike did not have to happen. We are angry that York forced us out on strike and continually prolonged the strike by refusing to bargain fairly. They sacrificed undergraduate education in a bid to take away our protection from tuition increases. York university administration fought against accessible education, and for that they should be ashamed.

We are proud that our members fought so hard for the principle of accessible and affordable education for themselves and future graduate students. Post-secondary graduate education is in crisis. At York, graduate students pay over half of their wages back to the university in tuition. We earn below the poverty line. We fear that soon graduate education will only be available to the rich, both at York and throughout the rest of the country. "The issues of this strike extend beyond the confines of York," says teaching assistant Mike Ma. "Graduate students throughout this province are experiencing first hand the corporatization of their universities. We encourage them to fight against tuition hikes in an environment that understands post-secondary education as a business rather than as a public good."

For more information, see: http://strike.cupe3903.tao.ca/ For related information about graduate students at Western, see: http://www.uwo.ca/sogs/features-news/pr-2000-07-03.htm"

The Constitution Of The University Of Western Ontario Caucus On Women's Issues

In recent meetings of the Caucus executive it became apparent that some of us were not particularly familiar with the content of our constitution. As such, we thought it was time to educate both ourselves and the members of the Caucus at large as to the contents of the Constitution. If members wish to suggest amendments, the executive encourages them to follow due process and present an amendment upon which all members can vote at the Spring General Meeting.


Article 1: Name

The official name of the organization shall be: "The University of Western Ontario Caucus on Women's Issues."

Article 2: Aims and Objectives

The aim of the organization shall be to promote and safeguard the interests of women at the University of Western Ontario and its affiliates.

The objectives of the organization shall be:

to cultivate a sense of community among women at The University of Western Ontario.
to encourage the integration of the findings from feminist research into all curricula at UWO and its affiliates.
to promote a work environment which facilitates the full professional development of all women employed at UWO and its affiliates.



a) Eligibility: Anyone employed as a full or part-time member of the faculty or staff, and any graduate student of The University of Western Ontario and its affiliates is eligible for membership in the organization.

b) A person becomes a member of the organization by being eligible and by paying dues.

c) Additional members may be admitted to the organization by a special vote of the Executive Committee.


a) Dues are payable once per academic year.

b) The amount of the dues shall be determined by the general membership.


a) The officers of the organization shall be:

1st Vice-president
2nd Vice-president

b) The governing body of the organization shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the officers of the organization, the immediate past president, and an indefinite number of elected representatives of the general membership serving on the Executive Committee as members-at large.


a) The secretary of the organization shall act as the chair of an ad hoc Nominating Committee appointed by the Executive Committee. Nominations shall be solicited by this committee and will be accepted from the floor at the general membership meeting for the election of Officers and Executive Committee members.

b) Voting: Election of the Officers and Executive Committee members (including members-at-large) shall take place at a meeting of the general membership and shall be by simple majority of secret ballots where more than one candidate has been nominated, or by acclamation when only one candidate has been nominated.

c) Terms of Office: The term of office for Officers and Executive Committee members shall be for one year or until their successors are elected.

d) Successive Terms: Officers shall be eligible for election to the same office for two or more consecutive terms.

e) Vacancies: Vacancies on the Executive Committee shall be filled by appointment of the Executive Committee.


a) Unless otherwise ordered by the Executive Committee, there shall be at least three general membership meetings during the academic year.

b) The election of Officers and of the Executive Committee, amendments to the Constitution and By-laws, and the establishment of policy and dues must be approved by a meeting of the membership at which a quorum is present. Ten percent of the membership shall constitute a quorum. A simple majority vote shall be required. Letter ballots shall not be used.

c) The Executive Committee shall be entrusted with administration of all other organizational matters.

d) The Executive Committee shall be empowered to make rules for its own procedure, providing always that questions before the Executive Committee shall be settled by majority vote of the Executive Committee.

e) Upon receipt of the Executive Committee of a written request signed by 10% of the membership, the president shall be required to call a general meeting within 14 days.


The Executive Committee may appoint Standing or Ad Hoc Committees as it considers necessary to promote the aims of the organization.


Members shall be notified in advance of meeting of all proposed changes and the constitution and by-laws.


Decisions about what to endorse, co-sponsor or circulate information about via the electronic mailing list will be made by caucus executive on a case by case basis. Decisions will be made by those members of caucus executive who can be reached. In making these decisions, the executive will be guided by the following principles:

Information/events must be relevant for the membership, given the mandate of caucus.
Given our objective of fostering community among women at UWO, we will avoid endorsing and sponsoring, though we may circulate information about, events that are relevant and of interest but politically charged in a way that could be potentially divisive of the membership.
We will not distribute information for any for-profit purposes.
As a member of NAC, we will forward information from NAC or from other NAC member groups.

Announcements And Events


The Caucus is looking for proposals for improving the safety of women on Campus.

Each spring, the President's Committee on the Safety of Women solicits proposals for initiatives relevant to improving the safety of women on campus. In the past, the committee has funded a wide range of projects, including: the installation of the emergency "code-blue" telephones, the improvement of campus lighting, support for foot-patrol, safety awareness and educational programs run through the Student Development Centre and the Residences, financial support for the development of the "box-fit" classes offered by Campus Recreation, and funding to assist the Pride Library in establishing a collection of lesbian materials. Caucus has not put together a proposal in quite some time (I believe that some of the funding for "Backlash" came from this grant, but I am not sure). It would be a good thing for caucus to take an active role in the promotion of women's safety on campus. One way of doing this is to come up with an initiative of our own. It has to be something that we, as an organization, are willing to undertake ourselves. If you have any ideas and are willing to work on the project, please contact Tracy Isaacs.

The Women's Caucus Brown Bag Lunch series is taking off.
These talks are relaxed events designed to present information and research which may be of interest to women on campus or, indeed, in the community at large. The presentations are informal and aimed at a general audience. All are welcome. If you have ideas about presentations you would like to see, or if you would like to give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation yourself contact Andrea Purvis.

For listings of upcoming lunches see the section on "Speakers on Feminism and Women's Issues" below. Watch your Inbox for more details and look for the posters!


I am writing to pass on some information about the mothers' network on campus. This is an informal network that was formed a few months ago for female faculty members with young children. We try to get together every month or so for lunch or coffee, and our primary purpose is simply to share our experiences and to provide mutual support, given the special challenges we face in balancing work and family. Thus far we have identified each other through word of mouth, but I'm taking advantage of the Caucus' newsletter to try to distribute information about the network more broadly. Female faculty members who are interested in joining the network should contact me, Kim Clark, Dept. of Anthropology.

Bonnie MacLachlan will be giving a talk at Brescia on Valentine's Day at the "Tea with a Twist" put on by the Sacred Circle. The tea, in the Victorian parlours of Brescia's main building, will include a tour of the residence, and my talk at 3:30, "The Ritual Embodiment of Love." The cost is $5, and people are encouraged to bring a friend. (RSVP to the Circle, 432-8353, ext. 288).


Sponsored by "the Circle" at Brescia College, this program is creatively designed to deepen our experience of the sacred dimension of our lives through a variety of creative activities and interactive explorations. The program offers 2 options for participation: Option 1. - 30-days (June 1-June 30, 2001) and Option 2. - 10 - days (June 5-15, 2001). Special features in both options are a 4-day workshop with renowned artist, Meinrad Craighead and on-campus residential accommodation. For more information call: 519-432-8353 x.288 or email.


Canada will celebrate International Women's Week (IWW) from March 4 to 10, 2001, with the highlight being International Women's Day (IWD) on March 8.
The theme for International Women's Day/Week 2001 is Canadian Women: Raising Our Diverse Voices for Positive Change! This theme was chosen to emphasize opportunities where women have raised their voices, have been heard and have made a visible impact. It acknowledges the influence of Canadian women to effect positive change for women in various aspects of life on the local, regional, national and/or international scenes - be it through paid or unpaid work - especially as the United Nations has declared 2001 the International Year of Volunteers.

To assist organizations and individuals in preparing activities to mark this special week, Status of Women Canada (SWC) is currently updating its Information Kit for International Women's Day/Week 2001 and is also producing a Bookmark.

Both, the Information Kit (publication 01-G-001) and the Bookmark (publication 01-G-005) will be available at the end of January and can be ordered free of charge on our Web site. The Information Kit will also be reproduced on our Web site and can be downloaded in Acrobat 4. To reduce delays in shipping and costs, we invite you to download it and make copies on the paper of your choice. You can also add your name to the distribution list by sending your mailing address and the requested number of copies by e-mail or by fax to the attention of Distribution Centre at (613) 957-3359.

An IWD/IWW activity calendar of events indicating the various activities happening across the country will also be posted on our Web site in February. Only the information on events open to the public and submitted to us will be posted.

Date and time:
Type of event:
Sponsoring organization(s):
Other relevant information:
Contact person(s):
Telephone (with area code):
Fax (with area code):
Web site:

You can submit the information about your event on our Web site, by fax at (613) 943-2386 or through e-mail. Please allow a minimum of five working days for the information to be posted.

Please share this information with others. Should you have any questions regarding this event, please do not hesitate to contact me at (613) 943-1304.

Thanks and have a great IWW celebration!

B. Robillard
Communications Officer
Status of Women Canada

International Women's Day - March 8, 2001
The Women's Events Committee is organizing an event for IWD which will be held on the evening March 8, 2001. Put it in your daybooks. More info to follow soon. The next Women's Events Committee meeting will be on Monday, February 5, @ 5:30pm @ Sexual Assault Centre. We are currently organizing the International Women's Day Event and welcome all who are interested in assisting. For more information, call Shelley at 642-3003 or 438-0649.

Job opening - research officer (bilingual), full time - 1 year contract
The National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), Canada's largest national feminist organization is seeking an experienced researcher for Phase II of its "Local to Global" research project on the impact of globalization on Canadian women and women's organizations. This is a one year full time contract position starting immediately.

Required Skills:

proven experience conducting research including participatory action research
strong understanding, as reflected in previous research, of the central issues for Canadian women arising from globalization and restructuring
proven experience conducting outreach to diverse communities demonstrated record of incorporating the experiences of diverse groups of women
knowledge of the Canadian women's movement and the ability to work from the perspective of antiracist feminist principles and goals
fully bilingual in French and English
computer literate in word processing programs and electronic communication
excellent written and oral communications skills and the ability to work to deadlines

The successful candidate must be able to work autonomously under the direction of a senior staff member.
Salary & Benefits: As indicated by the Collective Agreement.
NAC is an affirmative action employer and is committed to implementing anti-racism and anti-discrimination policies.
Please send a resume and three names of referees by Monday, February 12, 2001 to:
Hiring Committee National Action Committee on the Status of Women Suite 203, 234 Eglinton Ave. e. Toronto, Ont., M4P 1K5 Fax: (416) 932-0646

We regret that only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted. Candidates contacted for interviews will be asked to provide a sample of previous work.

Speakers On Feminism And Women's Issues (Broadly Construed)

Carla Fehr, University of Iowa will be speaking on "Sex and explanatory pluralism: the impact of orthogonal domains" on Monday, February 5 in TC 340 at 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Carolyn McLeod, University of Western Ontario (Philosophy), will be speaking on "Integrity, Latency and Latent Integrity," on Friday, March 30, in TC 340 at 2 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch Series
Thursday, February 15, noon-1, Janice Wallace and colleagues, Faculty of Education, will discuss research on documenting the history of women teachers in the 20th century. (Recently Rebecca Coulter (Principal Investigator) and co-investigators Sheila Cavanagh, Helen Harper, Suzanne Majhanovich, Goli Rezai-Rashti, Aniko Varpalotai and Janice Wallace were awarded a three-year SSHRC research grant valued at nearly $250,000 for a project on the history of the woman teacher in twentieth-century Ontario. Members of this group will tell us about what they're hoping to do in this research and perhaps offer us some context for it.) UCC 379. Bring your lunch!

Friday, March 9, noon-1, Helene Berman, Faculty of Health Sciences, will present "Everyday Violence in the Lives of Women and Children," UCC 369. Bring your lunch!

During the week of April 2-6, noon-1, Jennifer Schroeder, Director of Equity Services on Campus will discuss services and issues on campus, location TBA. Bring your lunch!

Contact Your Caucus
Margaret Kellow, President
Tracy Isaacs, Vice President and Safety Committee Rep
Alison Lee, Vice President, Essay Award and Programs
Adeline Falk Rafael, Secretary
Stephanie MacLeod, Treasurer
Janice Wallace, Membership
Sylvia Burrow, SOGS Rep and Grad Student Rep
Letitia Meynell, Newsletter and Grad Student Rep

Members at Large:
Sheila Cavanagh
Catherine Hundleby
Andrea Purvis
Goli Rezai-Rashti

New Caucus Members

Anyone employed either part-time or full-time by the university or its affiliates is eligible for membership. The current membership includes staff, graduate students and faculty members representing most academic and non-academic departments.

Membership fees are annual and the Caucus membership year begins in September each year. If you would like to join the Caucus or have let your Caucus membership lapse, here are the fees for membership:

Graduate student $5.00
Modest income $10.00
Regular member $20.00
Sustaining member $30.00
Charter member $50.00

The membership fees are used to support Caucus programmes and special initiatives, such as student awards and Caucus events.

If you have questions or would like to join, please contact Janice Wallace.

Janice Wallace, Membership Co-ordinator
Faculty of Education: 661-2087 Xt. 8608

This Newsletter

If you have comments or concerns regarding the format or the content of the Women's Caucus Newsletter, please feel free to contact me, Letitia Meynell. Thanks to Andrew Fenton for his assistance with the newsletter.

Newsletter html file created and posted on the web by Sylvia Burrow with the help of website manager Samantha Brennan.

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