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2012-05-18: First Chairs Circle a Success

Five past chairpersons of the PEI Adv. Council on the Status of Women

Five participants in the recent Chairs Circle of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women. Left to right, Anne Nicholson, Eileen Brown Wilt, Diane Kays, Kirstin Lund, and Isabelle Christian.

CHARLOTTETOWN – Recently, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women invited past and current chairpersons for the first-ever Chairs Circle consultation in Charlottetown. Six chairpersons took part in a roundtable focused on the theme of family law and access to justice for women.

“I thought of the Chairs Circle as an opportunity to bring together a lot of wisdom and experience from past chairpersons of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women. They were an untapped resource,” says Council Executive Director Lisa Murphy.

Chairpersons from 1980 to the present shared their thoughts about what their work for women’s equality looked like when they were Chair and how the situation has changed in the years since.

“The results were quite amazing to me,” says current Chairperson Diane Kays. “It was encouraging to think back on past times and see how much has changed. It was also heartening to reflect on how much the Advisory Council’s work has been able to influence positive change.”

Continues Kays, “It was also interesting to see where attention is still needed. Looking at access to justice, for instance, the recommendation for a domestic violence court first got fully fleshed out in 2004, and there still have been few steps taken. This issue, like some others, still needs a continued push.”

Murphy says, “The women who served as Chairs of the Advisory Council found it a life-changing time. They have all dedicated years of their personal and professional lives to work on behalf of women and their families. Island society owes them so much for their contribution and is so fortunate for their continued commitment.”

The Chairs Circle concluded with a strong recommendation from the participants to make the roundtable meeting an annual event and for the current Advisory Council on the Status of Women to use the energy and experience of its past Chairpersons to make a difference on the issues of today.

“We couldn’t have been more happy with the ideas that came out of the Chairs Circle,” says Kays. “I know the past Chairs’ ideas will be an invigorating boost for current Advisory Council members.”

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