by Rhonda Massad
Spring was in the air on March 9, the day after International Women’s day, when West Island Women’s Centre (WIWC) celebrated their 40th birthday amongst new and old friends. Heart felt speeches from past members and presidents brought the crowded room to tears at St. Columba-by-the-Lake Church, home to the organization.
The common thread than wove through the event was one of support to women on the West Island. The team of speakers spoke of how their lives were altered by having been part of the group that has seen several moves and growth spurts over the past 40 years.
“In the 80’s, when I was involved in WIWC, we were still predominately in the one car stay at home mom family model. Public transport was nil or nothing to speak of,” Carol Garvin, former board member, said to the silent crowd, “Thank goodness for the Women’s Center.”
According to Garvin the courses pertaining to natural childbirth, parent effectiveness training and many others offered women a chance to expand their horizons.
“The centre was a hub of energy, support, friendship and intellectual exchange and debate. I can recall many serious, deep and conflicting exchanges on various issues, “ she remembered, “ending up in briefs for presentation to various political organizations and commissions, including the National Council of Women of Canada.”
All the speakers mentioned friendships forged that last a lifetime and a camaraderie that allowed women to speak their mind and avoid isolation often experienced in the early years of child rearing.
“With a minuscule amount of political, social and economic power women have taken immense strides,” Garvin continued, “It is our duty and the duty of the center for the next 40 years, to continue working for women’s rights.”
The West Island Women’s Centre is a non-profit community organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of women. More information can be found at http://wiwc.ca .