Skip to Main Content

Advisory Council on the Status of Women

print small medium large 


Activities Update Volume 8 Number 1 Winter 2000

Chairperson's message
"It is justice not charity that is wanting in this world."

The legislated mandate of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women is to focus attention on injustices, especially those that affect the lives of women and their families. Throughout my five year term on the Advisory Council, I have become convinced of the Council's ability to serve as an important institution dedicated to the advancement of the citizens of the province, and beyond. While we can celebrate the fact that many girls and women of PEI do not experience barriers to their full and active participation in Island society, equality concerns do exist for others and it is for them that we work toward our mandate. The barriers are real and can be impressive. For example:

  • systemic discrimination still exists in some workplaces preventing women from being trained for or promoted to senior management positions
  • the stay-at-home mom, entrusted with the most important job of raising children, still can't get a homemaker's pension, employment pension or tax benefits
  • for those in poverty, there is little access to the justice system due to an inadequate family legal aid program
Even though women make up 51% of the population, and are a major component of an interconnected society, the numbers of issues specific to their needs as women, and to their families' well-being, continues to grow. It has only been in the past few decades that governments, the justice system and organizations have carried out their activities in recognition of the notion that all of the members of society have equal rights and responsibilities. Given that equity rights and equality of opportunity for citizens were fought for, relative to the times and needs of the people who were denied them, we can be sure that there will be an ongoing struggle for equality in the new millennium.

Equality advocates, whether they be individuals or groups within community,government or private enterprise, will need to take stock and commit to keeping issues profiled, and solutions implemented. As a community agency dedicated to equality, we know that we must be vigilant, stretch ourselves and build upon any "successes" that we have been a part of. Since our last Activities Update, we have partnered with a number of community groups to better work on equality causes, especially concerning women's health, restorative justice and family violence issues. We have consulted with government on the need for improvements to family legal aid, dental care coverage for social assistance recipients, and suggested ways to enhance access to the new Drug Assistance Plan. These are but a few of the issues that we have recently worked on, with varying influence and success -- there is much work to be done..

As my term comes to an end, I'd like to say thank you to all the women in the community who shared their time and knowledge with me as I carried out the Chairperson's responsibilities. It was empowering for me to feel your strength and belief. Special "thank you" to the Honourable Pat Mella, our Minister Responsible, for her honesty, openness and belief in our work. Her advice and opinion was always valued and gratefully received. And "thank you" to all the women who have served as Council members during my term. It is from the power of such women in the community, who share a belief in equality, that gives the Advisory Council its strength and its direction.

Lastly, "thank you" to the staff members Lisa Murphy, Becky Tramley, Heidi Rankin, and longtime volunteer, Betty Belaire. I have been in the workforce avery long time and have never experienced such office teamwork. My term as Chairperson was a wonderful experience for me, made stronger by the support I felt from the staff. An extra special "thank you" to Lisa, who offered me solid and continued encouragement. Lisa's belief in the issues and my ability to present them never seemed to wane.

In the spirit of caring and sharing, I wish us all well in the future.
Sharon O'Brien

Council Activities

1999 Purple Ribbon Campaign 1

The Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence is an annual event of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women. 1999 marked the 8th year the Advisory Council distributed the card with statistics and a purple ribbon attached. The Campaign commemorates the 14 women who died in the Montreal Massacre on December 6th, 1989, and raises awareness about violence against women and children in PEI. The Council also requests that Islanders make a donation to an organization in their community that is working to end the violence. In 1991, the first year of the campaign, 500 cards and ribbons were distributed. With increased demand for the ribbons, the help of many volunteers, and funds from the Premier's Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention, the 1999 distribution list was nearly 9,000! The Premier's Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention requests that the purple ribbon also be worn during Family Violence Prevention Week February 13 - 20, 2000.

1999 MDPW graduates
Sandra Batten, Linda M. Callaghan, Lorraine Clements, Katherine Dow, Jennifer Evans, Judy Fraser, Alana Gillan, Valerie Handren, Krista Anne Herring, Tracey Jewells, Jean Kimpton, Bonita Lynn LeBlanc, Pamela MacAulay, Sherry MacDougall, M. Beverley MacIntyre, Andrea MacNeill, I. Gail MacPhee, Virginia MacSwain, Christine Power, Brenda Profit, Audrey Pyke, Cathy Reid, M. Rita Saunders, Tammy Elizabeth Turner, Beverly van Diepen, Jennifer Vriend.

Management Development Program for Women Dept. Extension and Summer Sessions, UPEI The Management Development Program for Women is a one-year certificate program at UPEI. It offers an overview of management topics, requires you to apply your learning in practical ways, and introduces you to current resources in the management profession. The program is designed for women who hold positions in government, private industry, business, and non-profit organizations. For more detailed information, contact Isabel Christian, Coordinator at 566-0355 or email

Advisory Council Bursaries
For more than a decade, the Advisory Council has offered a $250 bursary to a female full-time student registered at Holland College or UPEI. The applicants must have been out of school for at least two full years, complete an Advisory Council application, demonstrate a financial need, and be a custodial caregiver of one or more dependents.

Hon. Catherine Callbeck also established a bursary in the Advisory Council's name in 1995 for women studying engineering at UPEI, in recognition and support of women pursuing non-traditional fields. Congratulations to the 1999 recipients of the Advisory Council bursaries:

Elizabeth Murnaghan - UPEIAngela Gregory - Holland CollegeHeather Turner - Engineering - UPEI

Council Members and Meetings

Advisory Council members The Advisory Council is always interested in hearing from women who would like to be more involved with Council and its activities. It is important to the Advisory Council's work that the diversity of women be reflected, including, for example, age, ethnic group, socio-economic status, marital and parental status, employment status, and physical ability/ disability. If you would like to be considered by government for appointments to boards, commissions, agencies, or the Advisory Council, or would like to be involved in another volunteer capacity, please forward your name and a short bio to the office.

Meetings Council members met January 26 in Charlottetown. Those present appreciated Mary Nicholson and Marguerite Arsenault for their dedication as Council members during their terms, which have ended. As well, two new members were welcomed to Council. Darlene Peters lives in Souris. She works in partnership with her husband in the fishing business, and mothers two daughters and a son. Jackie MacNeill Doiron hails from Montague and Murray Harbour, and now resides in Charlottetown. She is employed with Revenue Canada at the Summerside Tax Centre.

International Women's Day (IWD) Brown Bag Luncheon Celebration and EQUALITY RecognitionAwards - March 8, 2000
The PEI Advisory Council is excited to be celebrating IWD with a brown bag luncheon and the 7th Annual EQUALITY Recognition Awards. These awards, introduced by the Council in 1994, recognize individuals, community organizations and employers that have made outstanding contributions toward promoting the equality of women in Prince Edward Island. Enclosed is a nomination package. Please note the February 25th deadline for nominations.

Nomination forms can be mailed to PO Box 2000, dropped off to 3rd floor, 3 Queen St., faxed to 368-4516,or emailed to peistatusofwomen at eastlink dot ca. The Advisory Council encourages you to stretch your imagination for who might be worthy. It does not have to be a person/ business/ organization who works specifically in the area of women's issues. Consider things like flex-time in the workplace, efforts to hire more females, someone who works to support women and children living in fear, etc. Wednesday, March 8, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., Kier'sGallery, 2nd floor, 132 Richmond St. Charlottetown.

Join us for a fun lunchtime International Women's Day celebration and EQUALITY Recognition Awards, AND launch the worldwide Women's March 2000! Kier's Gallery, 132 Richmond St., 2nd floor, Charlottetown. March 8, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Community Notices

Listening to the Earth Workshop... Saturday, February 19, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.. Presenter: Paula Gonzalez, Futurist/ Environmentalist/ Educator/ Eco-Spirituality Specialist. Mount St. Mary's, 141 Mount Edward Road.

New Female Therapist in province. Kelly Carter is working with individuals, couples and families in Charlottetown and Summerside and is seeking consultations. Phone (902) 626-1044.

Volunteers Needed for AIDS PEI. Opportunities for office support, newsletter support, fundraiser event support. AIDS PEI recognizes its volunteers through appreciation events, and promises fun and new friendships. For info: 964-2883,

Pownal House is offering Family Life Education programs: Assertiveness Training, Active Parenting of Teens, Team Building for Couples, Active Parenting Today (2 - 12 year olds), Nurturing Self Esteem, Blending Work and Family, Managing Stress. For info: 894-3515,

Conflict Resolution Coop Community Workshops: Watch for dates in your area on topics of "Healing Inside Out - Inner Conflict" and "Basic Communication Skills". Phone Brenda 626-3544.

Twelfth Annual Bioenergetic Summer Program, June 30 - July 9 or July 14 - 23, 2000. Located at Belcourt Centre in Rustico. For info: 894-3244, or

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program is seeking volunteers to be trained to simplify tax returns for those not able. Phone 628-4017.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop, June 16 - 18 inclusive at Oak Acres Children's' Camp near Murray River. Sponsored by PEI Wildlife Federation. Choose up to 4 of 15 subject areas including archery, angling, dutch oven and campfire cooking, canoeing or map and compass among others. Highly personal experience, relaxed, non-competitive, beautiful setting. For info: 855-3198,

We want to hear from you. The Advisory Council office is located on the 3rd floor of 3 Queen Street, Charlottetown. Drop by, call 368-4510, email peistatusofwomen at eastlink dot ca or contact the nearest Council member:

Council Members and Staff

Sharon O'Brien
Inge Blackett
Audrey Currie
Vernon Bridge
Patricia Ballem
St. Nicholas
Valerie Smallman
Rosemary Faulkner
Darlene Peters
Maxine Ellis
West Cape
Jackie MacNeill Doiron


Betty Belaire, Cataloguer
Becky Tramley, Administrative Assistant
Heidi Rankin, Communications
Lisa Murphy, Director

PEI Advisory Council
on the Status of Women

PO Box 2000 Charlottetown
Phone: (902) 368-4510
Email: peistatusofwomen at eastlink dot ca

The Minister Responsible for the Status of Women is the Hon. Pat Mella

back to top