Feminists are nothing without worrying themselves sick over ethics. We decided to hire a paid organizer since, like us, all the women we knew who could organize such projects were already over-extended in their volunteer commitments. But how does a feminist compete for a paid job when her friend is the employer? I was interested in the job and eager to apply but I did not want Linda to feel she had to give it to me because I was her friend. She knew I could handle the work, but the only fair way to proceed was to advertise the position openly. That was problematic, because neither of us wanted women to put effort into applying for a position where a strong candidate was already identified. (It seems to me that this dilemma occurs often enough to warrant some attention.


Barbara Cottrell receives a CCLOW 10th Anniversary T-shirt from President - Elect, Linda Roberts

We all want to appear to be doing the right thing, but I know of women who have put many hours and much emotional energy into applying for jobs for which the successful candidate was already identified.)

Obviously this was uncomfortable for us all, so we did what any sensible Nova Scotia CCLOW member would do. We called a meeting. A most enjoyable lunch with Joan Brown Hicks and Mairi MacDonald resulted. It was decided that the job would be advertised in CCLOW mail-outs, and the three candidates who appeared most qualified would be interviewed. As it happened, there were no other applications and the job was mine by default. It was a wonderful job.

Since a priority was to encourage a broad spectrum of women to attend the conference, especially rural women, our first step was to hire a rural coordinator, Gail Simpson. Gail's primary task was to identify and contact individual women and women's groups around the province, inform them about the conference, and ask for their input. Many of the ideas later incorporated into the conference stemmed from the contacts Gail made. She also identified workshop leaders from the rural community, and assisted participants with details of travel, accommodation, and childcare.

To oversee the planning of the conference, a Planning Committee of eight women interested in CCLOW and women's learning gathered regularly to design the pre-registration brochure, decide on a conference site, and plan the workshops. The site was easy: as far as I know, the only place in central Halifax that is wheelchair accessible, is big enough to hold a plenary for 200, has at least six workshop rooms and a room for child care, and was within our budget is St. Mary's University. The St. Mary's staff are exceptionally cooperative and pleasant to work with, which we knew would make our task that much easier. Budget planning for the conference included money for subsidies and bursaries to cover the cost of registration, accommodation, and child care for women who needed financial assistance. Childcare was also offered on-site for those women who found it more convenient to bring their children to the conference.

Back Contents Next