Gateway Status of Women Council

Gateway Women Centre officially opens in February 1984. Shown cutting the ribbon is (l-r): Joyce Samms, Ann Bell (President of PACSW), and Viola Mauger.

The Gateway Status of Women Council started in Port aux Basques in 1982. At that time several women were becoming concerned with problems in their community such as a poor water supply, rising unemployment, and domestic violence. To deal with these issues, they called a public meeting to set up a Status of Women Council.

About 40 women attended this meeting, which included the President of the Provincial Advisory Council and the Coordinator of the Corner Brook Status of Women as speakers. The audience’s response was enthusiastic. They elected Eleanor Mauger as the first president of the Gateway Status of Women Council and ten other women to the Board of Directors. Their initial mandate was to respond to the concerns and needs of women and children in the community

After the first public meeting, these women applied to the Secretary of State and received an operating grant for $1800. This wasn’t enough to open a Women’s Centre, so for the first few years the women met in each other’s homes. Finally in 1984, the group received enough federal funds to open a Women’s Centre. The first full-time coordinator, Susanne Ingram, was hired in November of 1985.

Throughout its history, the Gateway Status of Women Council has worked on a number of issues, including women’s health, domestic violence, and women’s unemployment. It remains a strong organization with feminists from all walks of life as members of its Board of Directors.