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Ottawa Council of Women: President’s Report 2012-2013 Submitted by Maria Neil

Council of Women at all levels is essentially a political organization. We create policy through the resolution process. We then use that policy to lobby governments at all levels in an attempt to bring about changes in society to benefit women and their families, by asking for changes to governance. Ottawa Council of Women needs women who are interested in these matters – women willing to work for change. Remember, the government can be influenced.

In order to continue this work, begun so ably by a group of activists back in 1893, we need two sorts of women now: we need Representatives of our Affiliated organizations; and we need Representatives, who have enjoyed their one or two years with us, to become Individual members who will then go on working with us. I ask all Affiliate’s Representatives to seriously consider continuing to work with Council of Women as Individual members.

This has been a difficult year with governmental cuts in many programmes dear to those who care about a healthy and democratic society. The most recent blow, largely as a result of these cuts, is our National fall, in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, from first place in the 1990s to 11th place in 2012, and to 18th place when Gender Equality is included.

In our five monthly meetings, Speakers have educated us on topics, some of which have been used in the process of resolution writing, culminating in our Resolution Debate in March. As well as work, we had good times together too: Tea with the Famous Five on the Hill with several Members of Parliament, including Justin Trudeau, the then probable, now Leader of the Federal Liberal Party; Judy Sgro and others including those women declared this year’s Persons. Then there was the celebration of International Women’s Day at Centrepointe. In conjunction with CFUW Clubs of Ottawa, Kanata and Nepean, our OCW team was ably led again by Beverlee McIntosh. Turn out was excellent, with Speakers Sarah Kambites of the UN Association and Senator Landon Pearson. And we broke even on the event.

Members of the Board of OCW have put in a lot of work this last year and I am grateful to them all. I especially want to thank Beverlee McIntosh as Past President, who also chaired the Health Committee much of the year; Jeannette Logan who might have had shares in a computer company judging by the huge number of e-mails around the country to settle the best wording for resolutions; Margaret Ford who tried to keep us on the straight and narrow financial road; Helen Saravanamuttoo as the de facto Chair of the Social Welfare Committee which prepares, studies and presents to us so many aspects of Democracy, Social Welfare and Human Rights; Status of Women Convenor, Monica Cullum, for her articles in the Newsletter and for organizing our event at the Famous Five Monument on Parliament Hill; and Ewa Zadarnowski, who is not only the Representative to OCW and President of the Polish Canadian Women’s Federation of Ottawa but is also President of her own National Polish Canadian Women’s Federation, as OCW’s Convenor of Cultural Affairs, we are grateful to her for keeping us up to date on Music, the Arts, radio and television, festivals, and Cultural Events in an around our City.

Last Updated: 2013-07-09 Top^