Corner Brook Status of Women Council

The impetus for the start of the Corner Brook Status of Women Council (CBSWC) came from Marie Newhook who attended the “Women for Political Action” conference in Toronto in 1973. She organized a group of women who started meeting regularly to discuss women’s issues. This group and some other women then attended a luncheon with Kay Armstrong, President of the National Council of Women and Iris Kirby from the Secretary of State office.

From this, some of the group decided they wanted to officially organize in some way. After some discussion, they decided to become a Status of Women Council instead part of the National Council of Women. On December 5, 1974 the first meeting of the Corner Brook Status of Women Council was held, making it the second Status of Women Council in the province. Marie Newhook was elected Interim President. Other members of the executive included Gladys Costella, Lynn Verge, Denise Turner, and Mary MacIssac.

In March 1975, a grant from the Secretary of State enabled the CBSWC to open a Women’s Centre on West Street in Corner Brook. The CBSWC worked to raise awareness around women’s issues such as the Matrimonial Property Act, women’s addictions, sexism in the media, and sexual assault. They also were concerned with creating employment for women and worked with the local pulp and paper mill to hire more women and with the Canadian Employment and Immigration Commission to set up Women’s Employment Counselling services at the centre. In 1978, the CBSWC hosted the first Provincial Conference of the Status of Women Councils.

The CBSWC has continued it work in women’s employment and social issues throughout the 80s and remains active in Corner Brook Today. Today the Corner Brook Women’s Centre provides a number of services including crisis intervention, short-term supportive counselling, community education and outreach, professional development services, and policy consultation.