Archive for News and Views

2019 Chairs Circle

Left to right: Dianne Porter, Anne Nicholson, Sharon O’Brien, Colleen MacQuarrie, Isabelle Christian, Kirstin Lund, Mari Basiletti, and Yvonne Deagle

On May 24, 2019, eight chairpersons of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women gathered in Charlottetown for the eighth annual roundtable of past and present Chairs. Chairperson Yvonne Deagle hosted the Chairs Circle, and seven amazing past Chairpersons took part.

With a new government in Prince Edward Island this spring, the theme of the chairs’ conversation this year was collaboration and the key actions they took as Chairs to build good relationships and seek good solutions for gender equality with the governments they worked with.

Says Yvonne Deagle, “The past chairs who met on Friday have worked with governments of all kinds and with almost a dozen Ministers Responsible for the Status of Women. With all of them, the Advisory Council on the Status of Women worked to advocate for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion. The past Chairs have so many experiences to learn from and to help the current Advisory Council on the Status of Women to continue our good work. I am very proud to be part of this continuing legacy.”

The Chairs Circle is an opportunity to share collective knowledge and experience among long-time gender equality advocates.

This year, Michelle Harris-Genge, Director of the Interministerial Women’s Secretariat, participated in the consultation on behalf of the newly appointed Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Hon. Darlene Compton.

Yvonne says, “I am happy that strong lines of communication are already opening between the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, and the Interministerial Women’s Secretariat. I’m looking forward to sharing more of the Chairs Circle’s reflections and positive messages with Minister Compton in the coming days. We want to support the new Minister and all of the new government to do a great job for increasing equality on PEI.”


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Why Vote YES to MMP?

On April 23, in conjunction with the provincial election, PEI voters will also vote in a referendum about changing our electoral system to Mixed Member Proportional representation (MMP).

Cover art for A Preference for Equality was adapted by JoDee Samuelson from a still from her film The Women of Confederation.

Based on evidence from around the world about the potential for proportional representation, including MMP, to increase gender equality and to better value diversity, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women has recommended MMP for PEI for 15 years, through the 2005 and 2016 plebiscites and up to today. Here’s a little historical overview of why!

In 2016, we collaborated with the PEI Coalition for Women in Government to compare the five electoral options in the plebiscite. Our gender and diversity analysis focused on eight factors determined that on 6 out of 8 factors, MMP had greater potential to promote gender equality and diversity:

MMP chart

A comparison chart adapted from A Preference for Equality: A Gender and Diversity Analysis of Electoral Options

The full analysis to support this chart is available here.

A quiz inspired by the chart asked participants about their democratic values: what they hope for when they vote. MMP was the best fit for 67% of participants.

Electoral reform quiz results - 67% MMP

Results from a 2016 online quiz about participants’ electoral personality types.

More than 90% of participants were looking for things such as their vote contributing to electing someone or reduced negative campaigning. Almost 90% wanted to see third and fourth parties represented with seats in the Legislature when they earn votes. And more than 85% of participants wanted the percentage of seats a party gets to match the percentage of votes they received (which is the definition of proportional representation).

The full results from the quiz are available here.

Way back in 2005, PEI was voting on a slightly different model of Mixed-Member Proportional Representation, without open lists. (The MMP model we are voting on in 2019 lets voters choose directly who is the best candidate on a party list.)

Here’s what we said about MMP in 2005!

Created in 2005 for the Plebiscite on PEI’s Electoral Future by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Download the 2005 one-pager in English or in French.




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International Women’s Day Gallery 2019

International Women’s Day 2019 was another happy celebration of women’s progress and a call for better worldwide.

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate and to keeping pushing for equality: Hon. Sean Casey MP, Hon. Paula Biggar Status of Women Minister, Hannah Bell MLA, ACSW Chairperson Yvonne Deagle; speakers Jenna MacNeill, Jan Devine, and Paola Flores; performers Samantha Lewis (Indigenous Round Dance), Cynthia Dennis (yoga), Helen Gough-Conboy (Irish Set Dance caller), Tuli Porcher (fiddle) and Jessie Periard (guitar). Thank you to Kate Dempsey for leading in singing the Bread and Roses anthem.

Financial and time resources were contributed by local unions, women’s, and social justice organizations (see complete sponsor list at the end of the photo gallery). Jane, Becky, and Dawn were invaluable as always.

A special thank you to the women of the IWD Organizing Committee who set up and arranged the participatory activities and excellent presentations on March 8th:

  • Amy and Olive Clerk
  • Megan Dorrell (a rockstar at the Kids Station!)
  • Paxton Caseley
  • Paola Flores
  • Donna Dingwell
  • Rinku Upadhyaya
  • and Mistress of Ceremonies Farahnaz Rezaei.
(You can view the photos by scrolling down on this page or click on the first photo and flip through the photo carousel that displays, using the arrows).




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International Women’s Day 2019 – #BalanceforBetter / Journée internationale des femmes 2019 – #BalanceforBetter

International Women’s Day 2019 – #BalanceforBetter

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We come together again this year to celebrate International Women’s Day with the theme of “Better the Balance, Better the World.” This is a call-to-action for a gender-balanced world. Women in many countries have come a long way, yet there is still a lot of work to be done in Canada and around the world.

Gender imbalance is not just a challenge for women, it’s a business and economic issue. The PEI Coalition for Women in Government reports, “National and international research on corporate boards confirms it: increased gender balance and diversity on boards results in better financial performance.” The Coalition summarizes studies that clearly show, “When a board achieves gender parity, women and men tend to work more collaboratively, generate more creative ideas, draw from multiple perspectives, and devise robust solutions to problems.” We need gender balance in our boardrooms, our governments, in media, in sports, and many other sectors. Gender balance is essential for communities and economies to grow.

Economic effects are also personal. Earnings and income levels affect equality, and women’s incomes remain unfairly out of balance. The Canadian Women’s Foundation tells us that as of 2016, more than 1.9 million women lived on a low income. Shockingly, a third of women in the workforce make less than $15 per hour. Women are more likely than men to experience poverty. A 2018 study by Angus Reid indicated that 16% of Canadians could be categorized as “struggling” economically. This means that they face ongoing difficulty covering expenses for basics including food, utilities, winter clothing, housing, and dental care, and may have to use services including “pay day loans” and food banks to get by. Of Canadians in the “struggling” category, 60% are women. And women who are Indigenous, disabled, racialized, new immigrants, and gender and sexuality minorities are additionally disadvantaged.

Another area in need of balance is caregiving. Women still carry most of the load of caregiving to children, seniors, and people with disabilities, and a lot of the work is unpaid. A more gender-balanced world would better support caregivers, to help women with the burden of care for families and communities, and also support men to take a larger role.

In order to reach gender balance, we must learn to work together to bring about the changes that are needed, not only on a world-based platform but right here in our own little province. That means keeping gender on the radar, challenging stereotypes, and recognizing that gender identities and roles can be fluid. It also means equality for all women in all places. We are responsible to achieve the highest level of equality we can in our province and our country, and to contribute to the empowerment of all women worldwide.

A more gender-balanced future is possible. Together we can build a gender-balanced world. As we enter an exciting period of history where everyone expects equal access and participation, we notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Today, on International Women’s Day, let us celebrate our successes as women, and let us also use our power to raise the voices of those around us to become aware of the importance of a gender-balanced world for everyone. And work for better.

Yvonne Deagle is the Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.  



Journée internationale des femmes 2019 – #BalanceforBetter

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Comme tous les ans, nous nous rassemblons pour célébrer la Journée internationale des femmes, cette fois sous le thème Better the Balance, Better the World / Juste équilibre, juste monde. C’est un appel à l’action pour créer un monde où il y a un juste équilibre entre les sexes. Les femmes ont fait d’énormes progrès dans de nombreux pays, mais il reste encore beaucoup à faire au Canada et dans le reste du monde.

Non seulement un défi pour les femmes, le déséquilibre des sexes est un problème économique et commercial. Comme le rapporte la PEI Coalition for Women in Government, « Les recherches nationales et internationales sur les conseils d’administration le confirment : l’accroissement de la diversité et de l’équilibre entre les sexes au sein des conseils d’administration donne lieu à un meilleur rendement financier. » Selon la Coalition, ces études démontrent clairement que « lorsqu’un conseil réalise la parité des sexes, les femmes et les hommes ont tendance à mieux travailler ensemble, à générer des idées plus créatives, à tenir compte de multiples perspectives et à trouver des solutions robustes aux problèmes. » Si nous voulons faire croître l’économie et nos communautés, nous devons atteindre l’équilibre entre les sexes dans nos salles de réunions, nos gouvernements, les médias, les sports et de nombreux autres secteurs.

Les répercussions économiques se font également sentir sur le plan personnel. L’égalité dépend aussi des revenus, et ceux des femmes restent injustement déséquilibrés. Selon la Fondation canadienne des femmes, plus de 1,9 million de femmes vivaient d’un faible revenu en 2016. Plus frappant encore : un tiers des femmes au travail gagnent moins de 15 $ l’heure. Les femmes sont plus susceptibles de vivre dans la pauvreté que les hommes. En 2018, une étude menée par Angus Reid révélait que 16 % de la population canadienne était aux prises avec des difficultés économiques. Ces gens ont des difficultés continues à couvrir les dépenses engendrées par les besoins de base, comme la nourriture, les services publics, les vêtements d’hiver, le logement et les soins dentaires. Ils doivent parfois faire appel aux banques alimentaires ou à des services de prêt sur salaire. Selon l’étude, les femmes composent 60 % de cette catégorie. Soulignons aussi le fait que les femmes autochtones, handicapées, immigrantes ou faisant partie d’une minorité de race, de genre ou de sexualité sont encore plus démunies.

L’équilibre doit aussi être établi dans la prestation de soins. Les femmes font toujours le gros du boulot pour prendre soin des enfants, des aînés et des personnes handicapées, tâche qui est souvent non rémunérée. Un monde équilibré saurait mieux appuyer les personnes soignantes, alléger le poids familial et communautaire qui pèse sur les femmes et aider les hommes à jouer un rôle plus important dans ce domaine.

Afin de parvenir à l’équilibre entre les sexes, nous devons d’abord apprendre à travailler ensemble pour mettre en œuvre les changements qui s’imposent, non seulement à l’échelle du monde mais aussi ici, dans notre petite province. Pour ce faire, les sexes doivent rester d’actualité; il faut renverser les stéréotypes et reconnaître que les identités et les rôles liés au genre ne sont pas figés. Par « équilibre », on entend l’égalité de toutes les femmes dans toutes les régions. Nous avons la responsabilité de viser le plus haut niveau d’égalité qui soit, dans notre province et dans notre pays, et de contribuer à l’émancipation des femmes dans le monde entier.

Ensemble, il est tout à fait possible de fonder un avenir sur l’équilibre entre hommes et femmes. Nous avançons dans une période passionnante de l’histoire où nous privilégions tous et toutes l’égalité d’accès et de participation. Tâchons de remarquer son absence et de célébrer sa présence. Aujourd’hui, en cette Journée internationale des femmes, célébrons les succès des femmes et utilisons notre pouvoir pour faire valoir les voix de celles qui nous entourent pour sensibiliser le monde à l’importance de l’équilibre entre les sexes. Travaillons envers un juste équilibre et envers un juste monde.

Yvonne Deagle est la présidente du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Î.-P.-É.


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Happy International Women’s Day 2019

2019-03-04 12_34_18-IWD Poster MAR19

Mark Your Calendars!

Friday, March 8th, 2019
from 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Trinity United Church Hall
(*wheelchair accessible)

220 Richmond Street

All are welcome to attend.

On Friday, March 8, 2019, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women and allies invite everyone to join in recognizing women worldwide.

The IWD committee is preparing an afternoon that balances celebrating progress for women’s equality and a call to do better, in Canada and worldwide. Minister Paula Biggar will bring greetings from the provincial Status of Women, and ACSW Chairperson Yvonne Deagle will share her editorial reflecting on the significance of IWD in 2019. Samantha Lewis will lead an Indigenous Round Dance at the beginning of the program, as a beautiful way to connect peoples and cultures. There will be an opportunity to participate in some simple balancing yoga exercises led by Cynthia Dennis. Throughout the event we will hear from various women about how they have overcome challenges in their lives. There will also be a chance to kick up your heels with some traditional

Irish country dancing, called by Helen Gough-Conboy with Tuli Porcher on fiddle. To end, Kate Dempsey will lead in singing the anthem “Bread & Roses.” Please note that children are encouraged to attend and enjoy the children’s activity area.

Admission is free. All ages and genders are welcome.

Cooper Institute
Canadian Union of Public Sector Employees
Family Violence Prevention Services
Women’s Network PEI
PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
PEI Interministerial Women’s Secretariat

For further information:
Michelle Jay, PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
(902) 368-4510 /

iwd banner image



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Make It Your Business Lunch and Learn for Family Violence Prevention Week


Friday, February 15
12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Access PEI O’Leary
45 East Drive

Join the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women and PEI Family Violence Prevention Services (FVPS) for a video viewing and facilitated conversation using FVPS’s video series Make It Your Business. The event will take place in the boardroom at Access PEI, O’Leary at 45 East Drive.

The Make It Your Business videos were created by PEI Family Violence Prevention Services and partners to help people recognize signs of family violence and to learn safe and effective actions to take when you see violence in your workplace or in public settings.

You are welcome to bring a brown bag lunch. We’ll provide coffee, tea, juice, and snacks.

All are welcome. Free admission.

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PEI Status of Women Announces Recent 2018 Bursary Winners

L-R: Yvonne Deagle, PEI Status of Women Chairperson with Walaa Nasry, winner of the Diane Kays Memorial Bursary.

Congratulations to UPEI/AVC student Walaa Nasry, the recipient of the Diane Kays Memorial Bursary. The $500 bursary is for a woman-identified student in a post-secondary program at UPEI, Holland College, or Collége de l’île (formerly called Collège de l’Acadie) who is pursuing a field where women are under-represented or who is an active advocate for women’s equality. The bursary remembers past Council Chairperson Diane Kays, who was a strong voice for vulnerable women and families on PEI.


L-R: Yvonne Deagle, PEI Status of Women Chairperson with Rosette Bobo, winner of the Inge Blackett Memorial Bursary.

Congratulations to Holland College student Rosette Bobo, winner of the $500 Inge Blackett Memorial Bursary for a woman-identified student who entered Canada as a refugee and is pursuing education or training. This bursary remembers past Council Vice-Chairperson Inge Blackett, who when she died was the last Holocaust survivor on PEI.

The deadline to apply for the 2019 bursaries is October 15, 2019.

More info: Bursary webpage / En français

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