Statement on the Death of Victoria Head


November 15, 2017


Statement on the Death of Victoria Head

The St. John’s Status of Women Council and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Victoria Head.

We support the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in issuing their media release because all too often in our province and across our country the murder of sex workers goes unnoticed and unrecorded.

We are heartbroken at the news of another woman murdered in our community. This is the third woman in our province who has been murdered in less than six months. We know their names: Cortney Lake, Ryanna Grywacheski and Victoria Head. At this time, the In Her Name list of missing and murdered women and girls now sits at 122.

We must acknowledge that the horrendous levels of violence against women in our province is a threat to the general public. Violence against women devastates families and communities, and carries a huge social and economic cost.

Of the 217,900 women over the age of 15 residing in Newfoundland and Labrador, approximately 108,950 (one in two) will experience at least one incident of sexual or physical violence throughout their lifetime. Approximately 10 per cent (10,895) of these women will report this victimization to police. ​

When we continue to view women who do sex work as disposable, we allow them to be targeted for violence, stigma, and death. We must be clear that sex work is not what killed Victoria Head, it’s the environment we create when we continue to see sex workers as disposable and not provide them access to basic human rights of health care, safety, justice, and housing.

Once again, we call for a Provincial Task Force on gender-based violence that has the strength to change policy and legislation, mobilize resources, and provide the education and awareness we need to turn the tide against violence women and girls face in Newfoundland and Labrador.



“There is a disgraceful history of violence against women who engage in sex work in our city, underscored by the ways in which sex workers are stigmatized and seen as separate from our everyday communities. Sadly, we know that stigma kills.”

Heather Jarvis

Program Coordinator, SHOP


“Violence against women and girls in our province is at a crisis level. We need the political will at all levels of government now to come to the table to address what is clearly a human rights issue.”

Jenny Wright

Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women Council




Media Contact

Jenny Wright

Executive Director

St. John’s Status of Women Council

Tel. 709.753.0220

Heather Jarvis

Program Coordinator

Safe Harbour Outreach Project



About St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre 

The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area. The St. John’s Status of Women Council operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and the Safe Harbour Outreach Project.

About Safe Harbour Outreach Project  

The Safe Harbour Outreach Project (SHOP) exists to advocate for the human rights of sex workers. SHOP serves women for whom sex work is an occupation; we also serve women who are in the industry not by choice, who are wishing to exit. We provide front line support, system navigation and outreach from a harm reduction approach.


Ment-HER! A revolutionary women’s mentorship program

Ment-HER! A revolutionary women’s mentorship program

Application Deadline: September 15th, 2017

For an application contact:

We are seeking strong women willing to dedicate themselves to a 2-month program that will help to create community connections with lifetime benefits.

Why should I do this?

For the mentee, having a mentor can increase your professional capabilities and personal relationships exponentially! The mentor is provided with the opportunity to develop valuable professional skills such as leadership, capacity-building, and community outreach.

Who are you looking for?

For Mentors:

You are a woman who has built herself a well-organized, successful life, a woman with a dynamic career, community connections, and healthy satisfying interpersonal relationships. More importantly, you have the time and capacity to devote 2-3 hours per week for October and November of 2017 to lay the foundation for a lifelong relationship.

For Mentees:

You are a woman dedicated to improving your life and open to accept whatever resources are offered that might help you succeed. You want to build your capacities in your career, your personal relationships and become a community leader!

What exactly am I signing up for?

For Mentors

You will participate in:

1 mentorship training session (early October)

3 group meetings (mid-October, early November, late November)

4 1:1 sessions (scheduled with your mentee, 1 per week for all of November)

For Mentees

You will participate in:

1 mentee training session (early October)

3 group meetings (mid-October, early November, late November)

4 1:1 sessions (scheduled with your mentor, 1 per week for all of November)

When and Where

Time: October and November of 2017 (8 weeks total)

Location: 170 Cashin Ave.

How do I get involved?

To receive an application package or find out more contact:

Organizer Chandra Kavanagh at

IMPORTANT NOTE: This program is open to women of all ages in all career streams.




St. John’s Status of Women Council to host Chandra Kavanaugh as Feminist in Residence


June 29th, 2017

St. John’s, NL

St. John’s Status of Women Council hosts Chandra Kavanaugh as Feminist in Residence

 In the lead up to FemFestNL 2.0, The St. John’s Status of Women Council will host Chandra Kavanagh as Feminist in Residence. During her residence Kavanagh will hold a series of talks titled “Introduction to Feminist Activism.”

  • July 6th: Feminism and Activism
  • July 13th: Feminism, Love and Sex
  • July 20th: Feminism and Healthcare
  • July 27th: Feminism and Parenting
  • August 3rd: Feminism and Solidarity

I am deeply honoured to have been selected to serve as the St. John’s Status of Women Council’s newest Feminist in Residence. Many of my early experiences with feminist activism began at the SJSWC/Women’s Centre and I am incredibly excited to be able to offer something back to my community and this important organization. – Chandra Kavanaugh

All talks will be held at St. John’s Status of Women Council’s at 170 Cashin Ave. Extension, from 7-9 pm. All are welcome to attend and the space is physically accessible with parking and gender-neutral washrooms.

Jenny Wright, Executive Director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council said:

“It is an integral part of our role at the St. John’s Status of Women Council to foster feminism and create a space where the work towards equality rights and justice can happen.”

As Feminist in Residence, Kavanagh will also host a Feminist Working Hub.  Mondays from 12-4pm, beginning Monday, July 10th, 2017. The council encourages feminists who work from home or remotely to join us and share a communal working space.

FemFestNL 2.0 begins Friday August 11th and runs to Sunday August 13th, 2017, downtown St. John’s at The Space, 72 Harbour Drive.


Media contact:

Jenny Wright

Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women Council

Chandra Kavanagh

Ethicist, author, international public speaker, and PhD Candidate

About St. John’s Status of Women Council: The St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre is a feminist organization that since 1972 is continually working to achieve equality and justice through political activism, community collaboration and the creation of a safe and inclusive space for all women in the St. John’s area.

About Chandra Kavanagh: Chandra Kavanagh is ethicist, author, international public speaker, and PhD Candidate in the philosophy department at McMaster University where she studies feminist thought and biomedical ethics. Chandra has delivered presentations on political and ethical issues that have received high acclaim across Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. An award-winning feminist and labour activist, Chandra received the 2016 Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario “Sisters in Solidarity” award for her outstanding work on gender issues in her role as president of CUPE Local 3906. Chandra has 20+ publications in both academic and popular media formats with a strong focus on ethics and gender.



On becoming political.

On Becoming Political.

By Zaren Healey White

The last few months have allowed me to think a lot about women in politics and, more broadly, women’s political engagement and participation in public life. Fresh off a federal election campaign that was very exciting and meaningful for many Canadians, including, as I see in my own circles, many younger voters, our own provincial election in Newfoundland and Labrador is imminent.

On the federal scene, in a historic move Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to consider gender when appointing his new cabinet. Rather than ignoring systemic issues that cause women to be less represented in electoral politics, and further underrepresented in top jobs in which they must be appointed, Trudeau noticed gender. He recognized it’s not enough to say, “everyone is equal, sure, we’ll put the best people in” when, for so many flawed reasons, we often think the “best people” have to be men. A deliberately gender balanced cabinet shows the PM understands gender as a social factor, which is promising for future policy, such as following through on a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

As of the time of writing this, there are 33 women candidates running in our provincial election. That’s great, but of course at 40 seats with three candidates each (four in a few circumstances in which an independent is running), 33 candidates of a potential 120 shows gender representation is still far from balanced. And while, not surprisingly, I’d love to see more women involved in running for political office, I recognize the many challenges involved in undertaking a run for office, not least of all when you are a woman.

For me, I wasn’t that interested in provincial or federal politics growing up or even into my early adulthood. I was aware, I voted, and I tried to follow big stories, but I certainly found my engagements in public life elsewhere. As I’ve gotten older, and worked a few years in the media, as well as fostered my feminist beliefs, advocacy, and writing, I’ve come to really recognize how important it is for women to be engaged in political life, and how important this kind of engagement is for me as a feminist.

While the number of women seeking office in elections is still low, I know from working in the media and volunteering in the community that women are very engaged in many aspects of public and political life and that these engagements should not be underestimated. Women’s leadership should be cultivated to flourish in all arenas, and while politics is an important one for clear reasons, such as having women – half of the population – involved in creating policy and making decisions, I don’t want to underestimate all the other ways women and feminists are making a difference.

The NL Women’s Debate, organized by the St. John’s Status of Women Council earlier this month, was historic. A whole debate about women’s issues or issues pertaining to women! Women do make up over half the population in Newfoundland and Labrador and, yes, while any general issue also affects women too, there are many issues that specifically impact women and any women identified people in a greater way. They may also be more adversely impacted, depending on how the issue is tackled.

Violence, poverty, minimum wage, childcare, reproductive rights and health care access, wage parity, sexism, disproportionate levels of violence for women and gender non-conforming people, as well as people facing different intersecting ways of being socially marginalized based on race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and more – these are issues we should all care about, but which many women have no choice but to care about. They can’t be side issues or implied issues, they need to be front and centre alongside everything else we work towards in NL.

Based on the audience turnout, the social media engagement, and the continued discussions after the NL Women’s Debate, it is clear women are engaged in public life in this province. I met high school aged girls since the debate who told me they eagerly watched it, showing how meaningful engagement in women’s issues can start at a young age. From encouraging women to run for politics, to supporting women in community based programming and service delivery, it’s inspiring to see how many women in Newfoundland and Labrador are actively involved, voicing opinions and working for change, every day in a variety of formal and informal ways.

You don’t have to be a politician to have avenues for educating on gender equality and promoting tolerance and understanding related to gender or any forms of prejudice. If you’re a teacher, you have a classroom. If you’re a supervisor, you have your workplace and a culture you can actively foster to be fair, safe, and supportive. If you’re a parent, you have daily, informal interactions with your kids. We all have platforms, physical and virtual, that we can use every day to advocate for better lives for all genders and all people.