Bay St. George Status of Women Council

From Women Speak, Spring 1985, Vol. 3, Issue 1 (PACSW newsletter)

After listening to a talk by Ann Bell of the Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women, a group of women in Stephenville organized a public meeting to discuss setting up a Status of Women Council in their own community. In February 1985, more than 40 women attended the start-up meeting of the Bay St. George Status of Women Council (BSGSWC). Fourteen of these women came forward to set up a Steering Committee.

They moved quickly. By April of the same year, they had already chosen what issues they wanted to focus on and had published their first newsletter. The new council also obtained funding to set up a Women’s Centre on Main Street in Stephenville. This was officially opened on March 8, 1987.

One of the issues that BSGSWC chose was the peace movement. In October 1985, they held a public meeting on nuclear disarmament and in August 1986, they held a “Walk for Peace”. This became an annual event that is still held today. The Council also worked on removing pornography from their community, day care issues, and supports for single mothers. Family violence was also a concern, and occasionally the apartment in the Women’s Centre was used as an informal Women’s shelter.

Today the BSGSWC still plays a strong role in its community and continues its work in areas such as anti-violence and economic development for women.