Sad News from the Advisory Council

diane-kaysIt is with overwhelming sadness that the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women reports that our Chairperson Diane Kays died yesterday, March 28, 2015, after a brief illness.

Appointed to the Advisory Council in March 2011, Diane took up the role of Chairperson in August of that year. During her term as Chairperson, she devoted incredible time and energy to the Council’s work, taking an active part in the life of the office and of the Council, seeing the Council through a restructuring in 2012, and maintaining a strong and respectful relationship with Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Valerie Docherty. Diane represented the Advisory Council on the province’s Mental Health and Addictions Advisory Council and the Victim Services Advisory Committee, offering her irreplaceable knowledge and experience to these groups.

Diane Kays grew up in Charlottetown, a first-generation Canadian of parents born in Lebanon. She was proud of her Lebanese heritage. She graduated from St. Dunstan’s University and then received a Master’s of Social Work at Dalhousie’s Maritime School of Social Work. She spent more than 30 years in social work (in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) and eight years as a small business owner.

Her social work career focused on individual and family therapy, community development, and program development. Diane was also a Lecturer and Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University School of Social Work and worked in private practice (therapy and consulting).

Diane retired from social work in 2009 and moved home to Charlottetown, first to help care for her mother, Esma, in the last years of her life, and then to live with her beloved sister Doreen.

Throughout her career, Diane focused on issues of violence against women and children, adult survivors of childhood abuse, poverty and women, women in conflict with the law, mental health and women, and multi-service systems (analysis, development, and delivery).

Islanders will remember the special grace she brought to emceeing the annual Montreal Massacre Memorial Service, especially her moving speech “Her Name Was Eleanor…” at that service in 2011. Her strong voice for vulnerable women and families will be missed during the upcoming spring election.

“Our hearts are broken,” says Advisory Council Executive Director Jane Ledwell. “We have lost a beacon of feminist experience and a strong voice for all Island families, but most of all we have lost a friend and counsellor.” Council staff Ledwell, Michelle Jay, and Becky Tramley met with Diane weekly, sharing their accomplishments and goals with seriousness, but also with fun and laughter. “There was so much more that Diane wanted to accomplish to support women and their families in Prince Edward Island, and she had so much more to contribute,” says Ledwell. “We are devastated to lose her so suddenly and so soon. We will miss her with all our hearts.”

The Advisory Council on the Status of Women sends love and sympathy to Diane’s family, especially her sisters Doreen and Hazel, her niece Susan and her partner David Veniot, and her great-nephew Griffyn Sam, and to all her extended family, related by blood or by choice.

Note: Funeral arrangements are now made: http://www.macleanfh.com/Obituaries/96887/ 

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Community Notices

Welcome to our Community Events and Notices E-News for Thursday, March 26, 2015

New listings this week:
1) Puppets in the Library
2) The Stories We Tell – Still Spaces Available
3) Friends of Stratford Public Library Book Sale
4) PEI Home and School PISA Challenge
5) Three Community Forums – Basic Income Guarantee (BIG)
6) PEIBWA Upcoming Events

The current and past issues of our Thursday E-News with upcoming community events and notices are available at the following links:

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Community Notices

Welcome to our Community Events and Notices E-News for Thursday, March 19, 2015

New listings this week:
 1) Tomorrow: Are You Old Enough? Age Related Laws
2) Camp Gencheff Job Fair
3) Sexual Health Services Survey
4) Rethink Your Drink
5) Petition – Urging Canadian Government to Help Cyclone Hit Vanuatu NOW
6) PEIBWA Upcoming Events
7) Friends of the Confederation Centre Public Library Book Sale
8) Bonshaw Ceilidh​
9) Workshops
10) Canadian Conference on Social Enterprise, London Ontario
11) Charlottetown Family Earth Expo

The current and past issues of our Thursday E-News with upcoming community events and notices are available at the following links:

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Community Notices

Welcome to our Community Events and Notices E-News for Thursday, March 12, 2015

New listings this week:
1) International Women’s Day 2015 Gallery
2) Tonight – Samuel Holland 250 Commemorative Lecture Series Continues in March
3) Tomorrow: Peace Rally & Walk
4) PEIBWA E-News
5) Panel Discussion on Proportional Representation
6) Mosses, Fungi and Lichens of PEI
7) Shifting from Conflict to Collaboration
8) Guild to Display International Photo Exhibit
9) PEI Food Security Network presents Dirt! The Movie – March 26
10) Supporting the Health of Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse through Community Programs / Contribuer à la santé des victimes de violence conjugale et des enfants victimes de mauvais traitements au moyen de programmes communautaires
11) Photo Contest Now Open
12) Workshops for Men and Women with Disabilities: Our Right to Be Safe!

The current and past issues of our Thursday E-News with upcoming community events and notices are available at the following links:

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International Women’s Day 2015 Gallery

A big thank you to all who came together to celebrate International Women’s Day!!
Sifting through the many great photos of performers, organizers, supporters and audience members…a beautiful tapestry.

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Advocacy, Activism and Agitation Still Required / La revendication, l’activisme et l’agitation sont toujours necessaires

International Women’s Day 2015:
Advocacy, Activism and Agitation Still Required

On March 8th we mark International Women’s Day. It is a day we celebrate how much women have achieved. We celebrate the many ways that women have advanced in various careers and roles as independent, autonomous persons able to strive toward their full potential. We celebrate the many creative and innovative ways that women are successfully contributing to the global community. The equality of women today has been much more fully realized in the past 100+ years, since the inception of IWD in the early 1900s.

We also recognize that gender inequality still exists. In Canada and around the world, women are still struggling for equality with men. Women are still much more likely to be victims of all types of violence, to have their labour valued less than men’s, to assume the major responsibility for household tasks and caregiving, to be underrepresented in political and corporate leadership, to lack control of their sexual and reproductive health, etc. The list is long. In many parts of the world, the ways in which women are excluded and controlled and violated is truly horrifying.

Advances are being made in some arenas, by some women. The recent Bold Vision Conference held in Brudenell, PEI in September 2014 was an opportunity to showcase women of achievement and vision. Women like Pam Palmater, Hazel McCallion, and PEI’s own Becka Viau. Women who are radically changing the nation with their vision. The Conference also shed light on the shameful inequities that require advocacy, activism, and agitation. Two issues are most prominent for the members of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Despite many Canadians supporting the call from Aboriginal women’s groups for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women, the federal government has remained opposed. Comments by the Prime Minister stating that the thousands of missing Indigenous women do not constitute “a sociological phenomenon” have disappointed and enraged those of us who want the loss of so many women acknowledged and addressed.

These are not individual crimes, committed solely against individual women. We must unflinchingly examine the root causes of this violence in misogyny, racism, colonialism and violence against women. Research by the Native Women’s Association of Canada has shown that Aboriginal women and girls are 3 times more likely than other Canadian women to be victims of violence. Indigenous women make up 4% of the Canadian population of women, but they make up 16% of murdered women. Recently, the federal government held a Roundtable on missing and murdered Indigenous women in Ottawa. Much more must follow the Roundtable. Actions must be based in the experiences and wisdom of Indigenous women and their families.

It was hopeful to hear Premier Wade MacLauchlan explicitly state in his acceptance speech his commitment to working with the Indigenous people of PEI: “The Liberal Government that I lead will give primary importance to the relationships with the Mi’kmaq people.” Together with Indigenous women leaders, we will hold our Premier and his government accountable to make good on his commitment.

The second most prominent issue for women and their families is poverty. The recent choice not to spend more than 5 million dollars allocated to Social Service programs is appalling. For the second year in a row, our political leaders have chosen to underspend their own minimal budgets allocated to the very poorest of our neighbours. The poverty and need in our community cannot be denied. There is a distinct lack of will at both provincial and federal levels to view poverty as an issue of human rights: unacceptable, unnecessary and harmful to every Canadian.

The fact that some women are thriving is clear. Some women are achieving economic and social parity, freedom from violence and fear, and control over their sexual and reproductive health. However, the advances of a few do not negate the suffering of the many. In the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” Until all women are recognized as equal citizens the world over, women and men everywhere must continue to act, advocate and agitate for what is just.

Diane Kays, Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women


Journée internationale de la femme 2015 :
la revendication, l’activisme et l’agitation sont toujours nécessaires

Le 8 mars, nous célébrerons la Journée internationale de la femme. Nous célébrerons ce que les femmes ont accompli. Nous célébrerons les façons multiples dont les femmes ont réussi à progresser dans différentes carrières. Nous célébrerons les femmes qui assument leur rôle de personnes indépendantes et autonomes et qui sont capables d’atteindre leur plein potentiel. Nous célébrerons les nombreuses façons créatives et innovatrices par lesquelles les femmes contribuent à la collectivité mondiale. Depuis un peu plus de 100 ans, l’équité en faveur des femmes est un phénomène bien plus répandu, surtout dès la création de la Journée internationale de la femme au début des années 1900.

Nous reconnaissons que l’inégalité fondée sur le sexe existe toujours. Au Canada et partout dans le monde, les femmes se battent encore pour l’égalité des sexes. Les femmes sont toujours plus susceptibles d’être victime de violence de tout genre, d’être moins bien reconnues pour leur travail que les hommes, d’avoir la responsabilité principale des tâches ménagères et de la prestation de soins, d’être sous représentées au niveau politique et entrepreneurial, de ne pas avoir contrôle sur leur santé sexuelle et reproductive, et bien plus. En fait, la liste est longue. Dans bon nombre de régions du monde, la façon dont les femmes sont exclues, contrôlées et violentées est vraiment horrifiante.

Certaines femmes ont fait des progrès dans certains secteurs. La conférence « une vision intrépide » qui s’est tenue à Brudenell, à l’Île du Prince Édouard, en septembre 2014 constituait une occasion de mettre en valeur les réussites et la vision des femmes. Il y avait entre autres des femmes comme Pam Palmater, Hazel McCallion et Becka Viau, originaire de l’Île, qui sont en train de modifier radicalement le pays grâce à leur vision. De plus, la conférence a mis en évidence certaines honteuses inégalités qui exigent plus de revendication, d’activisme et d’agitation. Il y a deux questions dominantes pour les membres du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Î.-P.-É.

Premièrement, bien que bon nombre de Canadiens appuient la demande des groupes de femmes autochtones pour la tenue une enquête nationale sur les femmes autochtones disparues ou assassinées, le gouvernement fédéral s’y oppose. Les propos du premier ministre qui soutiennent que les milliers de femmes autochtones disparues ne font pas l’objet d’un « phénomène sociologique » sont décevants, surtout pour tous ceux d’entre nous qui veulent que la disparition d’un si grand nombre de femmes soit reconnue et abordée.

Il ne s’agit pas de crimes individuels, commis seulement contre ces femmes. Nous devons toujours examiner les causes fondamentales de cette violence par rapport à la misogynie, au racisme et au colonialisme et de la violence faite aux femmes. Une étude menée par l’Association des femmes autochtones du Canada a démontré que les femmes et les jeunes femmes autochtones sont trois fois plus susceptibles que d’autres femmes canadiennes d’être victimes de violence. Les femmes autochtones forment seulement 4 % de la population féminine canadienne, et pourtant 16 % d’entre elles font partie des femmes assassinées au Canada. Récemment, le gouvernement fédéral a tenu une table ronde à Ottawa au sujet des femmes autochtones disparues et assassinées. Maintenant, il doit y avoir des actions concrètes de la part du gouvernement, fondées sur les expériences et la sagesse des femmes autochtones et leur famille.

Il était encourageant d’entendre le premier ministre Wade MacLauchlan déclarer très clairement lors de son assermentation qu’il s’engageait à travailler avec le peuple autochtone de l’Île : « Le gouvernement libéral, dont je suis le chef, accordera une importance particulière aux relations avec le peuple Mi’kmaq ». Ensemble, avec les dirigeantes autochtones, nous tiendrons notre premier ministre et son gouvernement responsable de respecter leur engagement.

La deuxième question dominante pour les femmes et leur famille est la pauvreté. La décision récente de ne pas accorder plus de 5 millions de dollars aux programmes de soutien social est épouvantable. Pour la deuxième année consécutive, nos chefs politiques ont choisi de ne pas utiliser leur budget restreint qui était prévu pour les plus démunis de notre province. Le taux de pauvreté et de gens dans le besoin de notre province ne peut pas être nié. Il y a un manque de volonté au niveau provincial et fédéral de voir la pauvreté comme une question de droits de la personne, c’est inacceptable, injustifiable et malsain pour tous les Canadiens.

Certaines femmes ont beaucoup de succès. Certaines sont arrivées à l’égalité économique et sociale, se sont libérées de la violence et de la peur et ont pris le contrôle de leur santé sexuelle et reproductive. Toutefois, les progrès de ces femmes n’empêchent pas que d’autres souffrent. Comme la lauréate du prix Nobel de la paix l’a bien dit : « Nous ne pouvons pas toutes réussir quand la moitié d’entre nous en est empêchée. » Jusqu’au moment où toutes les femmes seront reconnues comme des citoyennes du monde à parts égales, les femmes et les hommes de partout doivent continuer à agir, à revendiquer et à s’agiter pour que la justice soit rendue.

Diane Kays
Présidente du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Île

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Community Notices

Welcome to our Community Events and Notices E-News for Thursday, March 5, 2015

New listings this week:
1) Reminder – IWD 2015 Celebrations: Activism, Advocacy and Agitation!
2) Tomorrow – International Women’s Day Lunch and Learn
3) International Tea House 2015
4) PEI Provincial Home Show 2015
5) Seniors Safe @ Home
6) UPEI Book Sale Tomorrow and Saturday
7) PEI Gay Tourism Monthly Meeting
8) Fabric and Yarn Sale
9) Public Health Agency of Canada Call for Proposals
10) New CLIA publication: Grandparents Parenting on PEI
11) PEIBWA Upcoming Events
12) Save the Dates – Invite to Presentations on Sexual Violence
13) Save the Date – Halifax LEAF AGM
14) Going West: How Government Policies are Forcing Workers to Leave Home

The current and past issues of our Thursday E-News with upcoming community events and notices are available at the following links:

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Previous listings by title

To view the e-newsletter with specific details about an event, click on the title link:

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