CCLOW Where We're At
The Context of Change
At the 1998 CCLOW Board Meeting, Directors came to grips with the fact that the current organization is, in the words of President Cheryl Senecal, "...in dire need of new passion, new direction and new structures." Like many national organizations, the context for CCLOW's work has changed greatly since its founding twenty years ago.
In addition to changes in federal policy on funding equality-seeking groups, there was also the recent devolution of responsibility for post-secondary education and labour-market training to the provinces. As an organization with a national focus committed to furthering women's equality through learning, CCLOW had worked in previous years to prepare the way for change. Cost-cutting measures included the cancellation of our magazine, Women's Education des femmes, which led to many membership cancellations.
Meanwhile, changes in employment insurance funding for community-based training organizations - many of which were set up to fill gaps in institutional programs, and many of which were run by and for women - meant that these non-profits were forced to close. Our membership lost many of these adult educators, counsellors and literacy workers who became unemployed or who found work in other sectors.
Facing the Need for Change
Throughout 1998, CCLOW's Provincial and Territorial Directors had worked through a set of questions in consultation with their respective Networks. Based on feedback from members and after careful deliberation, the Board reached consensus on a motion that would shape a vigorous national women'sorganization and that would build on CCLOW's strengths and assets.
As a means of paving the way for the revitalization of the organization, CCLOW is calling a Women's Congress. Its purpose is to provide a forum where committed women will transform CCLOW into a different model of an organization - one which can respond more effectively to women's interests and needs around education and training as we move into the next decade. In the same way that CCLOW was formed 20 years ago, we are now entering into a similar process to both honour our history and provide a foundation for the coming years.
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