52% Solution

In 1987 a group of women decided they needed to do something to ensure women were equally represented in provincial institutions. Since women make up 52% of the population, the group chose the name the 52% Solution: Women for Equality, Justice, and Peace.

About thirty women from this group, all volunteers, hopped aboard a yellow school bus for a week in August 1987 and travelled across the island to spread their message and hold workshops on women’s issues. The Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women helped provide office space and support for the arrangements and the federal Secretary of State Department Women’s Program helped financially.

Some members of the 52% Solution in Corner Brook. At far right is Lynn Verge, then Minister of Justice, who joined the tour for part of the way.

For the most part, the 52% Solution’s efforts were met with an enthusiastic response. In St. John’s, the then City Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff and several other women in key decision-making roles helped to launch the bus tour. Lynn Verge, then Minister of Justice, joined the bus tour between Corner Brook and Stephenville. In Stephenville, over 250 women attended the 52% Solution events and the bus team joined the Bay St. George Status of Women Council in their annual peace march.

We could see the results of the tour by the time it finished up on Monday. More women know that our life experience, the talent it fosters, and the contributions we can make to all society, are not present when the “rules of the game” are made.

– Linda Sue Chambers, Member of the 52% Solution, from Women Speak, Vol. 5, #2