J. Havelock, N. Johns, D.
Martz with assistance from N. Streuby
Full Report (English) PDF (401KB)
This document reports on the Rural Women's Forum held November 24-26, 2006 in Muenster, Saskatchewan. This report is similar in style to other reports from rural Women's Action Workshops, but with information particular to the Provincial Forum.
Work with rural women began as a follow-up to the Rural, Remote and Northern Women's Health report, and was moved forward by the creation of the Rural Women's Issues Committee of Saskatchewan (RWICS) in 2004.
Rural, Remote And Northern Women's Health Report
In June 2004, the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence (PWHCE) and the Centres of Excellence for Women's Health (CEWH) released the report Rural, Remote and Northern Women's Health: Research and Policy Directions. This was a comprehensive, national project on the health concerns of women who live in rural, remote and northern Canada (see page 3). As requested by the community women involved in the project, a plain language community kit was developed shortly afterwards. PWHCE also committed to providing other follow-up to the research. In September 2004 PWHCE began working with rural women in Saskatchewan as one step in carrying forward the Rural, Remote and Northern Women's Health report's recommendations.
A Rural Women's Health Workshop was held November 17, 2004 at Christ Lutheran Church in Young, Saskatchewan. The purpose of the workshop was to offer women the opportunity to become familiar with the national Report's recommendations and determine other recommendations and follow-up action for Saskatchewan. Some of the participants had participated in focus groups as part of the initial research for the national project. New participants included rural women, Métis women and Francophone women.
The women at the workshop identified a wide range of factors affecting the well-being of rural women in their local communities, and began determining actions to address these factors. It was evident that more time was needed to move from ideas to actions. The Rural Women's Issues Committee of Saskatchewan was formed at that meeting, to determine how this group might meet again, and also how to involve other rural women in similar events.
RWICS held a second workshop in Young, Saskatchewan on March 15, 2005, sponsored by PWHCE. To address the issues identified at the November meeting the women produced detailed action plans and made personal commitments to move the actions forward. In 2005 and 2006 RWICS received grants from the Women's Program of Status of Women Canada which, combined with continued support from the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence, the Centre for Rural Studies and Enrichment in Muenster, Saskatchewan, and the support of RWICS' enthusiastic volunteer committee members, enabled RWICS to propel its work.
As a result, additional workshops were held in rural Saskatchewan:
April 25th - 26th, 2005 in Nipawin
May 17th -18th, 2005 in Swift Current
April 7th - 8th, 2006 in Carlyle
October 20-21, 2006 in Unity
October 27-28, 2006 at Christopher Lake
And to complete the process, the Rural Women's Policy Forum was held on November 24-26 at St. Peter's College in Muenster, Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan has a strong history with women and women's organizations leading the way to many policy improvements and important social reforms. In recent years, it has been more difficult for rural women's organizations to remain active and present their views. This has been partly due to factors such as the aging of the rural population and reductions in funding to women's organizations. Another major factor is the heavy workload carried by rural and farm women. In addition to the homemaking, parenting and maintaining community organizations, there is the paid work, including both on-farm and off-farm work for farm women. In the overload, community involvement may not be possible, and separate women's organizations often do not flourish.
In its work RWICS hopes to address some of these difficulties by linking with individuals and organizations working to improve the situation of rural women and bringing the recommendations of rural women forward to decision-makers. Our goal is to support and encourage rural women to name their own issues, create their personal action plans and achieve their own visions.
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