Women's Network PEI marks 30th year

The big 3-0 was reason for celebration for Women's Network PEI in 2014

Monday, January 5, 2015

Founded in 1981 and incorporated in 1984, this non-profit social justice organization has survived, thrived and rolled with the times over the last three decades, despite major hurdles, such as cuts to core funding in the 1990s.

© Guardian photo by Mary MacKay
Michelle MacCallum, left, WNPEI director of youth and parent programming, executive director Sara Roach-Lewis and Anne Nicholson, who first became involved with the network when it was still in its infancy, were on hand at the recent 30th anniversary celebration of this non-profit social justice organization.

The Guardian, January 5, 2015, by Mary MacKay

"There are still a lot of common themes, and one of those is giving voice to women's experience. It's a big part of the work that we do, and maybe those voices are different now — certainly they are — and that's really exciting," says WNPEI executive director Sara Roach-Lewis.

The focus in the beginning was Common Ground women's magazine and an annual women's festival, as well as conducting research and advocating for policy changes in a variety of areas important to women and their families.

"I think back in those early days they were talking about things that we talk about now, whether it's breastfeeding, menopause, abortion, reproductive justice — sort of that cradle to grave women's experience," says Roach-Lewis.

In the early years, WNPEI was also doing a lot of exploration with regard to women in nontraditional roles — mainly primary producers in the fishing and farming industries.

After losing federal core funding in the early 1990s the organization had to switch to more project-based work.

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