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BCTF Status of Women Publications

What better way to capture the spirit of the strong and powerful Status of Women Program than through this collection of Status of Women newsletters/journals that reveal stories of the women, issues, and actions of the times? The BCTF Status of Women program, born out of the feminist movement of the early seventies, existed as a fully funded BCTF program for a full 25 years, from 1973 to 1998, when it became a part of the social justice umbrella model adopted by the AGM. 
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Status of Women, our union’s original “grassroots network”, was supported by a BCTF staff person working in close collaboration with a nine-member teacher advisory committee. Each committee member liaised with local contacts in her zone, who in turn had a network of contacts in every school. This process enabled women teachers to identify issues and initiate actions at the school, local, zonal, and provincial levels. The results were impressive; they included awareness raising, classroom resource development, and changes to BCTF policies. At bi-annual zone meetings, local S/W contacts had the opportunity to discuss theory and practice of non-sexist teaching, find support, raise their issues and concerns, share their successes, explore ideas, and build their skills to advocate for equality.

Following a “personal is political is professional” model, the program offered workshops across the province at local conferences and PD days. Some workshops centered on personal growth covering topics of assertiveness, journaling and self-esteem. Others, like non-sexist pedagogy had a classroom focus, and some got political, with women in bargaining, Roberta’s rules of order, and public speaking.

Everyone came together at the annual summer conference where local contacts, committee members and staff offered their latest workshops, and heard inspiring keynotes by feminists working in the broader community across BC and Canada, including women leaders from other unions and politicians like Rosemary Brown. One year BC poet Dorothy Livesay inspired everyone to take an action for equality, no matter how small it may seem, with the line “Every drop is a part of the wave.”