The St. John’s Status of Women Council (SJSWC) opened in 1972, and was soon followed in 1973 by the St. John’s Women’s Centre, making it the oldest, member-owned centre in Canada for women and gender-diverse people. In the ensuing five decades, we’ve been at the heart of substantive legislative and social change in St. John’s and across the province.
But our work is far from done. Today, we are passionate about feminism, wage pay equity, low-barrier housing, anti-violence work, sex worker rights, and harm reduction. If these are passions you share, join us. We need your interest, your voice, your skills, and your passion, if we are to continue to make the world a better place for all of us.
What Membership Means
We all have a vital role to play in the fight for equality, rights, and justice in Newfoundland and Labrador. As a Member of the SJSWC, you’ll have the opportunity to:
- Receive our online newsletter
- Join us at programs or events
- Support and share our advocacy work
- Take part in training opportunities
- Contribute your expertise or time
- Be a part of building the feminist movement in this province
- Vote at our Annual General Meeting
Membership also means you’ll be part of an organization that has created real, significant change in our community.
Here are a few highlights of the work we have done over the last 50+ years:
Alongside Provincial Action Network for the Status of Women (PANSOW) and other groups:
- The Council lobbied and changed the Jury Duty Reform Act, allowing women to sit on juries for the first time.
- We helped enact the Matrimonial Property Act, legislation that recognized the equal division of property upon separation or divorce. It also ensures that widowed women and men can now inherit the matrimonial home.
- Upon learning of cuts to funding to the Status of Women council, we occupied the office of the Secretary of State, a protest that then spread across the country.
- The Council actively promotes participation of women in politics and other leadership positions, including holding learning sessions on how to organize and run campaigns.
- For the first time in many instances, the Council spoke out and brought media focus to previously taboo issues, including: sexism in education, the workplace, and the media; and, about women’s health and reproductive rights.
- The Council opened the first transition house in St. John’s for women fleeing domestic violence (now known as Iris Kirby House), and the first Rape Crisis Centre.
- The Council led a three year research project DV @ Work NL, documenting qualitative and quantitative data and to address the knowledge gap concerning impacts of domestic violence on workers and workplaces in this province.
- The Council launched the first of it’s kind free and publicly accessible e-course on gender-based violence, Empowering Them.
- Perhaps our greatest achievement was fighting for and ensuring equality was clearly embedded in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
- We created and currently maintain The St. John’s Women’s Centre, Marguerites Place Supportive Housing Program, Safe Harbour Outreach Project and the Managed Alcohol Program.