Edmonton Local Council of Women (ELCW)

////Edmonton Local Council of Women (ELCW)
Edmonton Local Council of Women (ELCW) 2017-08-27T09:45:10+00:00


Edmonton Local Council of Women, (ELCW), holds meetings each month except July and August and welcomes new members. Here, you will find information about:

–  ELCW meetings
–  Aims and Objectives
–  Opportunities provided through membership of the Council
–  Concerns of ELCW and Details of two ELCW Projects
–  A summary of the ELCW’s challenging history since 1894

Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month from Noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Society for Retired and Semi-Retired in Downtown Edmonton (15, Sir Winston Churchill Square). The Annual General meeting for 2003 will be on May 10th.

For more information on the Council meetings and agendas / items on this link, please contact Joyce Backstrom email: mailto:jrbackstrom@shaw.ca or (780) 435-49250.

–  to provide a unification of objectives of the women of Edmonton
–  to be aware of the potential of women’s power for good in a global society
–  to uphold the honour of the roles of the giver and preserver of life in creating all that is best in a young child
–  to diffuse into society the gentler feminine qualities
–  to hold in high regard the moral standards of integrity
–  to strive to develop an even balance in the creativity, energies and qualities of men and women
–  to address and correct any discriminatory prejudice against women whether in the family or in society generally
–  to endeavour to overcome prejudices through achieving real equality of colour, race, class or sex
–  to guard and to defend at all times national independence, democracy and peace.

As government redefines its role in Canada within the global society, a greater responsibility is attached to individuals in the community. The work of the Council is ever increasing and often urgent. There is a great need for women to think clearly and act wisely, who are strong in purpose, and able to meet of the challenges of a new century.

The ELCW provides opportunities for:

– personal development
– service
– research skills
– committee work
– report writing
– presentation of briefs
– attending public meetings
– public speaking
– networking with other organizations
– holding office within the Local, Provincial, National and International Councils.

Some of the current issues are government cutbacks, affordable housing, quality education, child welfare, family violence, environmental problems, human rights, and health care.

Current Convenors
Family and the Child
Health and Bio-ethics
Environmental issues
International Affairs
Women and Justice

Two Projects by ELCW, begun in 2001, affected a large number of people in Edmonton:

“Together We Can Make a Difference” In 2001 the ELCW asked for the help of women and their families throughout Edmonton and area in collecting and producing articles needed by service agencies in the “Together We Can Make a Difference” campaign. The Edmonton President, Joyce Backstrom gave voice to the Council’s dream when she said, “If we could get every woman and her family to donate just one thing, it would make a huge difference.” Service agencies were in desperate need of certain items, such as hygiene supplies, quilts, children’s activity kits, pajamas, toys, newborn kits, diapers, and other essentials depending on the individual agency’s clients. Hundreds of items were gathered in the fall and distributed to numerous organizations throughout the city including WIN House, youth and women’s emergency shelters, the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Kids’ Kottage, the Salvation Army and the Canadian Red Cross.

The campaign brought in even more items. The numerous beautiful handmade quilts for adults and children, newborn kits and blankets did not manage to meet the demand, illustrating how great the need was. However, it was anticipated that in the following years as the campaign continued, more women would become involved. The need remains considerable following government cutbacks and familial problems that stretch the resources of the service agencies.

“Securing Our Futures” In 2001, National Council held its National Roundtable on Securing Our Future. During the last year ELCW has begun to publicize the need for young people, especially young women to give more thought and planning to their futures. After identifying and examining each of the elements of a full and productive life, we could plan for the best development and use of these elements throughout our working lives and into our retirement years. In 2000, the Edmonton Local Council of Women organized a forum at Grant McEwan College entitled “Securing Our Futures”. Topics ranged from personal educational planning, and financial needs awareness to the importance of maintaining positive relationships. As a result, the ELCW Economics and Financial Convenor has since given two teacher in-services and taught 160 students. Other schools expressed interest in accessing the material used, having visiting classroom speakers/instructor(s) and in-services for the CALM teachers. It was hoped that the project would be used in several high schools on an ongoing basis during this semester and continuing into the 2003-4 school year. Useful in the classroom presentations was the kit developed by National Council to complement the material presented. The response to these was very positive. The Girl Guides and various women’s groups also indicated their interest in arranging for teaching sessions.

To learn more about this project, contact Carla Kozak at email: ckozak@attcanada.net or by phone at (780) 456-4141.

Edmonton, Saturday, October 13th 1894
“The railway terminus is at South Edmonton, a little place of 500 inhabitants… We were received [here] by an address and an arch… The ladies gave me a gold nugget from the river. Then arrived the mayor… & a deputation of ladies, headed by Mrs. Taylor, who wants a meeting to-morrow to start a local Council. They all seem very go ahead.”
(from “The Journals of Lady Isabel Aberdeen”)

On the following day after a visit to St. Albert, Lady Aberdeen met with a group of women at Robertson’s Hall. By their presence, a large number of women indicated their wish to form a Women’s Council, but apparently they observed “an intense silence, out of respect” for the Governor General’s wife. Mrs. Taylor was elected President. And so the Edmonton Council of Women, part of the “Parliament of Women” (Strong-Borg, 1979), was born a year after the founding of the National Council in October 1893. Initially the Council floundered, but was re-established in 1908.
In the years following, the Council formed convenorships in Archives, Health and Welfare, Housing, Legislation, Education, Citizenship, Child and Family, Economics, Environment, Women and Employment and Public Safety. Local Councils throughout Canada expressed their concerns relevant to their individual communities through resolutions to NCWC, which were studied and selected by priority to be voted on at the National Conference. Those chosen were presented to the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers.”

The following are some of the areas of Pre-WW11 concerns of the ELCW, which it considered and acted upon in resolutions to the National Council or in local projects. Their consistent attempt to improve the quality of both public and private life is evident throughout, and the details of their work provide interesting insights into the lives of Edmontonians in the 20th century.

A resolution passed by the Confederation of University Women was brought before the ELCW that “cleanliness, ventilation and overcrowded conditions in the Strathcona street-cars, plus expectoration, be investigated”
A resolution was presented to the ELCW that “a Censor or Board of Censors be appointed for Moving Pictures”.
ELCW’s Standing Committee on the Franchise of Women prompted the CFUW to petition for an extension of “the franchise equally to women.”

An ELCW resolution that “the Federal and Provincial governments be approached in regard to the matter of giving equal representation to women and men on all Boards dealing with women and children.”

In 1929, Charlotte Whitten noted that the eleven councils, which included Edmonton, had appointed Child Welfare Convenors though they represented only 20% of all local councils. Six years later the Alberta Council of Women was dissolved, and although ELCW declined from 32 to 19 members between 1930-1939, Edmonton along with other Councils remained strong enough to attract a “broad spectrum of affiliates.” Edmonton’s included the Women’s Institute, the WCTU, the Women’s Liberal Club, the Women’s CCF Club, the Women’s Auxiliary to the Typographical Union and the Women’s Conservative Association.”

Emily Murphy was associated with the ELCW beginning in 1908 and was Honorary President for many years. She instigated and brought to a successful issue, together with Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louse McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards, the appeal to the Privy Council, which in 1929 declared a woman was a “person” and had the right to be appointed to the Senate. (In 1958, 25 acres of land was designated the Emily Murphy Park).

Also during these years the ELWC
–  made a request by for a “mature, legally trained policewoman”.
–  advocated adult education.
–  aided establishment of the Edmonton public library and organized reading clubs.
–  lobbied for the establishment of an Edmonton art gallery and donated the first painting to its permanent collection.
–  contributed to the acquisition of paintings of the five Alberta women who obtained the recognition of women as persons (presented to the Provincial Govt. in 1939).
–  organized the Community Chest, a forerunner of the United Way.
–  lobbied for equal pay for women in the armed forces.
–  protested smoking by teenagers on school grounds and attempted to make the leaving of children alone a punishable offence.
–  requested the restoration of Old Fort Edmonton as an historical site and museum.
–  as a result of lobbying by ELCW, Alberta was the first province to grant equal parental rights.
–  established WIN House for abused women.

Other Texts consulted:
Jubilee Year Book 1908-1958, Local Council of Women, Edmonton Alberta 1958 “By Degrees: The First 90 Years of the Canadian Federation of University Women Edmonton” ed. Heather Marshall, Edmonton, 2002