For Immediate Release: PANSOW calls for action by the Department of Education on sexual violence

October 5, 2018

For immediate release

RE: PANSOW calls for action by the Department of Education on sexual violence

Last year, allegations of sexual assault by a student resulted in legislative changes to the Schools Act, 1997, which came into effect on September 1, 2018. It provides the Director of Education with the authority to refuse to admit a student on school property where it is his/her opinion that the presence of the student is detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of students or staff. It was announced that polices were forthcoming based on these changes and to address sexual violence in our schools. However, in recent weeks, allegations of sexual assault at another school have come forward and highlighted the lack of movement on these promises.

The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women believes that a holistic and trauma informed approach is needed that addresses the need for safety during transportation to and from school, during school, and while involved in extracurricular school activities.  This requires changes in policy and practice that address the physical and psychological safety needs of students and staff.  Trauma can impact an individual’s ability to acquire new knowledge and to retrieve stored information, thereby impacting the ability to learn. Creating safety is paramount in helping individuals regain a sense of control and concentrate.

Measures that address safety on buses may include the use of bus monitors, paid or volunteer, to assist with the supervision of students or cameras.  School buses can accommodate up to 72 passengers; far too many for a single driver to monitor while also having to tend to the duties of driving and following the rules of the road.  Cameras may provide legal evidence of the behaviours and actions that are occurring that are not observable by the driver.

During the school day, it is important to provide supports in terms of guidance and psychological services for those impacted by trauma and its impacts on daily activities.  In addition, accommodations, short or long term, may be required to help students remain in school and complete their curriculum.  This will be best determined by consulting with the student, their family and any professional supports they are using to assist with their recovery.

Policy and procedures for extracurricular activities should be reviewed and updated and ensure that they provide adequate supervision for all students.  The procedures for reporting incidents need to be clear and reflect the serious nature of the trauma a student may experience.

To create systemic change in how we identify and intervene when violence occurs can only happen with changes to the curriculum. Curriculum changes that focus on healthy relationships, boundary setting and consent can create a safe and more inclusive learning environment and help us ensure students lead vibrant and healthy lives. Professional development training in trauma informed practice is also necessary for all employees to ensure early detection and response, and to create supportive environments for all involved with teaching and shaping the minds of our children and youth.

PANSOW is available for consultation in creating these necessary changes as we have experience in providing both front line support to individuals impacted by sexual violence and in policy development.  Changes are needed now and we cannot wait for more students and families to be left in limbo.


Media Contacts
Paula Sheppard Thibeau
Executive Director
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
Tel. 709.639.8522

Janice Kennedy

Executive Director

Bay St. George Status of Women Council

Tel. 709-643-4444


The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is a grassroots, feminist, and non-partisan network which gives a provincial voice on the issues facing the Status of Women in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW consists of all eight Status of Women Councils in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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.




Celebrating our Victories!: The Massive Success of “Introduction to Feminist Activism”

Celebrating our Victories!: The Massive Success of “Introduction to Feminist Activism”

Let me be honest with you, when I pitched the idea of a 5-week series of workshops on feminist activism to be held from 7-9pm of Thursday nights at the women’s center I thought that there was a good chance no one would come. It takes a special kind of person to give up her free time to come out and learn more about social justice, especially during the few warm and summery evenings we have here in Newfoundland and Labrador. But guess what? Those special people came out, and they came out in droves. Every week the SJSOWC welcomed 20+ participants hungry for the opportunity to share their feminist activism, and learn new strategies for making change.

In each workshop we covered a different topic together. Beginning with “Feminism and Activism” in our first week, we moved on to “Feminism, Sex and Love”, “Feminism and Healthcare”, “Feminism and Parenting”, and finally “Feminism and Solidarity”. For those of you who weren’t able to make it out to the workshops, here’s a quick overview:

Feminism and Activism: Feminist approaches to activism encompass a wide range of strategies from radical direct action, to minor interventions in daily life. Despite the power of feminist theoretical scholarship to inform and inspire practical activism, a deep chasm remains between feminist theory and activist practice. In this presentation we explored 5 activist tactics that make possible the redistribution of power including research, support, campaigning, organizing and protest.

Feminism Sex and Love: Discussions of feminism and sex often center on sexual violence. During this workshop we left sexual violence to the side in order to discuss some of the other ways that women experience sexual inequity. Topics included sexual consent, orgasm inequality, and some of the ways women’s bodies are commonly misunderstood. We also talked about what feminist love might look like, including straight, queer and platonic relationships.

Feminism and Healthcare: Perhaps our most explosive workshop. If you don’t know about the women’s health scandals that have rocked this province, including the Cameron Inquiry, the huge number of hysterectomies in Central Newfoundland, and the overuse of cesarean sections (sometimes called unne-cesareans), then it is time to start paying attention! We went on to cover some of the ways that women have made major strides in the healthcare field including the increased representation of women physicians, and women’s contributions to the wellness movement.

Feminism and Parenting: We welcomed our youngest participant at this workshop. At just a few weeks old this teeny feminist-in-training set the stage for a broad discussion of feminism and parenthood, as well as the choice to remain child-free. Together we explored the biggest taboo, people who regret having children. We also discussed the kinds of practices feminist parents engage in when it comes to how they treat their children, other parents, and themselves.

Feminism and Solidarity: In our last workshop of the series we focused on women and work. This included the history of women in the labour movement and the importance of unions in Newfoundland and Labrador. We also discussed how unions are used to engender social justice and political action. Participants were most excited by the simple step-by-step instructions for how to get involved in your union if you are a part of one, and how to start a union if your workplace is not already unionized.

Sad you missed one or all of these workshops? Know a group who would benefit from one of these presentations? Contact Feminist-in Residence Chandra Kavanagh at kavanacl [at] for more information on how to bring these workshops to you!

Picture: Alison receiving her certificate for attending all 5 classes for Feminist in Residence, Chandra Kavanagh.






By Chandra Kavanagh

Chandra is an ethicist, author and international public speaker Chandra Kavanagh is a 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.


#FemFestNL 2.0 Accessibility Plan

FemFest NL Accessibility Plan

To see plan with colour photos please click ->  Here 

The Space and Eastern Edge Gallery – 72 Harbour Drive


Main entrance:  72 Harbour Drive

  • External double door is 6 ft wide
  • Concrete ramped entrance
  • No automated button for opening


Parking lot spaces and on street parking is free on weekends. There is a large public parking lot adjacent to 72 Harbour Drive; in this parking lot there are no designated Blue Zone spaces.

The Space

Upon entering the Space from Harbour Drive, please note the hallway has an uneven floor positioned approximately half way up the hallway. The floor dips by 1 inch for 6 feet, with a ramp installed throughout the doorways.

(First section of hallway into The Space)

(Second section of enterance hallway, ramp installed)

(Enterance into main space, ramps installed)


Single stall gender neutral washroom located in hallway from Harbour Dr entrance.

  • Door width is 30 inches
  • Washroom is at least 6 ft x 4 ft for maneuverability

Designated Women’s Accessible single stall washroom located down long hallway.

  • Door Width is 30 inches
  • Stall is at least 6 ft x 4.5 ft for maneuverability
  • Grab bars near toilet

Designated Men’s Accessible single stall washroom located down long hallway.

  • Door Width is 30 inches
  • Washroom is at least 6 ft x 4.5 ft for maneuverability
  • Grab bars near toilet

Alternate Formats

FemFestNL schedule is available in braille, in large print, and on a prerecorded MP3 file.

Additional Conference Supports

FemFestNL will honour attendant passes. Formal American Sign Language for Saturday night Keynote Speaker. Certified service animals are welcome – water bowls available for working animals. Hearing Amplification device available on site from CHHA-NL. One on one closed captioning available on site as requested. Additional accessibility information and supports provided by inclusionNL…for Everyone. For additional questions please contact Kathy with InclusionNL toll free at 1 844 517 1376.

Safe Crew onsite and identifiable at all times. 
Inclusion Crew onsite and identifiable with Guided Sight Training completed from CNIB. A designated “Quiet space” area available for individuals requiring a short term space. A Cultural Support person will be onsite and identifiable throughout the weekend.

All FemFest NL events are breastfeeding friendly. There will be nut-free snacks, water, tea, and coffee at all conference events.

There will be alcohol served on site during set times.

SJSWC Launches Membership Drive Campaign


For Immediate Release

July 6, 2017

SJSWC Launches Membership Drive Campaign

St. John’s, NL – The St. John’s Status of Women Council is the oldest, member-owned women’s centre in Canada. Today, they launch a new campaign inviting all people who feel passionately about issues such as wage parity, accessible childcare, gender balance in leadership, anti-violence work, sex worker rights, and feminism to become members.

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

“I am so excited to launch this campaign as it will allow us to connect directly with people in our community who want to lend their voice, their skills, and their passion to the the daily work of advancing women’s rights. We welcome everyone who shares our guiding principles to become a member, and I especially encourage people who have wondered how they could get involved or who want to stay up to date on opportunites for activism to join us now.”

Becoming a member of the SJSOWC allows you to take an active role in the fight for equality, rights, and justice in Newfoundland and Labrador. Members will be provided with opportunities to join the SJSOWC at events, take part in training opportunities, contribute their expertise or time, contribute to policy positions, and help support and spread awareness of causes and campaigns.

Annual memberships range in cost from $20 to $5. Both individuals and groups are invited to apply for membership at


Media Contact:
Jenny Wright, Executive Director, SJSWC

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.
Today, the SJSOWC operates The Women’s Centre, Marguerites Place Supportive Housing Program, and Safe Harbour Outreach Project. It recently launched Right Here, Right Now, an innovative mental health initiative that provides walk-in counselling for all women.



FemFestNL 2.0 Call for Submissions


FemFestNL is a festival of all things feminist, including concerts, film screenings, readings – to be held in downtown St. John’s. We are asking you to help shape the conference through a call for submissions!

When: August 11th to 13th, 2017

Where: The Space, Harbour Drive, St. John’s

Who we are: A committee of feminist organizations, students and activists who are organizing FemFest NL – a feminist conference to take place in St. John’s. It will be carried out from August 11th-13th, 2017 with a two-day forum (August 12th and 13th) with panel discussions and lectures, to happen at The Space.

FemFestNL prioritizes the voice and experience of women in our community. We welcome submissions from all women (trans, intersex, cis, 2S) and all those who experience gendered oppression (including non-binary and gender non-conforming people) and all those who identify as women for the purpose of political organizing.

FemFestNL events are open to everyone.

For this conference, will be accepting proposals for panel discussions, workshops, and interactive sessions based around feminist organizing, community activism and political action in Newfoundland and Labrador. We want to know how our community does direct political action, how they work to create community solidarity and how we can share these skills with each other.

What we would like from you: Your name and organization (if affiliated) with short two sentence bios, proposed topic, session type (panel, TED Talk, workshop, roundtable, etc.), and length of session, how many presenters (and their names and short bios if already planned).

We are prioritizing submissions focused on Feminist activism:

Direct action

Political action

Community solidarity 


Submissions open from June 24th to July 15th, 2017 (12 pm NL standard time)
Please submit to:

PANSOW: Open Letter in Support of Bill C-16

The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is in support of Bill C-16, to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Bill C-16 also amends the Criminal Code to extend the protection against hate propaganda set out in that Act to any section of the public that is distinguished by gender identity or expression and to clearly set out that evidence that an offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on gender identity or expression constitutes an aggravating circumstance that a court must take into consideration when it imposes a sentence.

People who are transgender (trans) experience discrimination, harassment and violence because of their gender identity or gender expression.  People who are trans, two-spirit, and/or gender non-conforming are vital members of our communities, and yet continue to experience profound marginalization and alarming rates of violence. Beyond Bill C-16 we must continue:

to make schools safe for trans students and students questioning their gender identity;

to tear down barriers to employment for trans people and create safer workplaces;

to ensure access to affordable and appropriate healthcare services;

to work with law enforcement to improve training and responses to crimes committed against trans people.

As a network of Women’s Centres throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador we fiercely strive for gender equity and this includes gender equality for trans women and being allied in support of all transgender, two-spirit and gender non-conforming people in our communities. We are committed to being trans inclusive, and to value and grow through the voice and leadership of trans people.

We call on all Women’s Centres and women-serving organizations across Canada to ensure our work is always human rights based, including the dismantling of binary and heteronormative discourses, and the inclusion of trans women throughout our organizations.

To feminist organizations in Newfoundland and Labrador who wish to join us in support of Bill C-16 and co-sign this letter, please contact us.

In solidarity,

Co-Chair Janice Kennedy

Executive Director BSG Status of Women

Co-Chair Jenny Wright

Executive Director, St. John’s Status of Women

PANSOW is a network of all Status of Women Councils of Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW applies a ‘provincial lens’ to issues of equality and ensures a public voice for women from a non-partisan, grassroots, and feminist perspective. 


Thank you, from the creator of the Thank You Project

To our community,

A young woman in our community has gone up against one of the most powerful systems in our province, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, and in doing so she stood up to a rape culture that permeates and tries to defeat us.  We do not know the identity of this woman, or if she is aware of the immense impact that her trial has had on survivors and the community, but it is safe to say she has inspired change.  Her actions changed the conversation; in coming forward she has forced the justice system and the public to question the validity of the process. 

For this we want to say THANK YOU!  We have been dubbed The Thank You Project; our purpose is to send cards and letters thanking this woman, supporting her and letting her know that we believe her.  The cards can come in days, weeks or months – she has a lifetime of healing ahead. The court of public opinion can be cruel and we want to counteract those negative voices with the voice of positivity and support and love. 

The Thank You Project is a community support piece and we are therefor welcoming the support and contribution of any and all individuals who would like to send in a card of their own, a small group, or  host card making events.  If there is an event happening in your community, where a table could be set up and stocked with craft making supplies for attendees to create cards, we would be thrilled to have you involved.  If groups are able to provide their own supplies and volunteers this would be greatly appreciated as we are not a registered charity and there have not been any funds allocated or official volunteers secured.  For groups in the St. John’s region we have collected limited crafting items and would be able to offer assistance in this manner.

I am happy to hear from anyone who would like to be involved, has an idea to put forward, or would if you like to send along a card of your own.  I can be reached at for further discussion and information on card drop locations. 

I look forward to seeing the creations of support from our community.

With gratitude,                                       

Ashley MacDonald

Call for members to join a committee to create a forum on community safety

The St. John’s Status of Women Council will facilitate alongside community members the planning of a public forum on advancing community safety. It is our hope that  we can work towards a forum where we can bring broad members of our community together – the police, taxi companies, government, students, business and advocates and survivors, so that we can come up with community driven solutions to make our community safe for everyone.

To begin planning for the community forum we would like to strike a committee to help guide the process. We encourage those most affected by violence to help inform the process – WOC, indigenous, trans, disabled women, sex workers and gender non-conforming folks.

The first planning meeting will be Wednesday March 22th at the Women’s Centre at 5:30pm – 170 Cashin Avenue Extension

The Women’s Centre is fully accessible, gender neutral washrooms and there is parking.

Please RRSP to  if you want to be on the planning committee and if you can attend the meeting.

PANSOW calls on Minister of Justice to implement program offering free legal advice to victims of sexual assault.

February 27, 2017


Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister for Justice & Public Safety

Cc: Honourable Cathy Bennett, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women

 Re: Free legal advice for sexual assault victims

We were pleased to hear last year that you were considering implementing a program which offered 3 free hours of legal advice to victims of sexual assault – similar to the program in Ontario.

We respectfully request that the Ministry of Justice implement this program immediately.  We believe this program will help victims to be informed and to navigate an often adversarial and complex system.

YWCA Canada has published research that shows “there are convictions in only .3% of the 460,000 sexual assaults that occur annually in Canada. That means 99.7% of sexual assaults do not result in legal sanctions by the criminal justice system.” Many women who are sexually assaulted often experience victim blaming and feel re-victimized when they report sexual assault and go through the legal process (Canadian Women’s Foundation). Here in our province, 1 in 2 women and girls in Newfoundland and Labrador will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime.

We cannot increase reporting if we do not remove barriers, and ensure victims are treated with respect and with dignity by our criminal justice system.

We offer our expertise and support in adapting this program in Newfoundland and Labrador.



Jenny Wright

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


Janice Kennedy,

PANSOW Co Chair, Executive Director, Bay St. George Status of Women Council

 Tel: 709.643.4444

The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is a grass roots, feminist organization & nonpartisan network which gives a provincial voice on the issues facing the Status of Women.