Working to change lives
The Nelson Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women recently had a visit from Jeannette Mergens the regional director of B.C. East. She spoke of the importance of the Nelson chapter in the betterment of the lives of women and girls through advocacy work and through education.
British Columbia has 23 active federation chapters who all work on issues that affect the lives of women and girls and all have a national voice through debates, lobbying and the passing of resolutions.
Mergens spoke of the relevancy of the federation in the lives of women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. The federation has special consultative status at the United Nations and is represented at the Sectoral Committee on Education at the Canadian sub-committee for UNESCO. The federation is the largest of the 79 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women, which works on improving the status of women and girls, promoting quality public education, human rights, justice, and peace throughout the world.
Mergens said that at the national level the federation lobbies the government on many issues, from affordable housing, childcare and early childhood education to pay equity (no, we haven’t achieved that yet), social assistance reform, student debt, and women in peace-building.
The federation brings more power to its voice by partnering with other groups.
The federation is a grassroots organization. Members of the local clubs have the opportunity to put forward resolutions that, if passed at an AGM, become national policy.
Locally, the Nelson chapter provides bursaries and scholarships to support women studying in post-secondary education at colleges, specialized training centers, and universities.
Monthly meetings provide a meeting place for friends and feature interesting speakers. Interest groups on many topics are part of every club. The Nelson chapter contacts MPs and MLAs to lobby on issues of concern, and reaches out to the community to support those in need.
The Nelson chapter offers many opportunities for friendship and meaningful involvement in the community.
Regular meetings and special functions bring together like-minded women in numerous interest groups and committees. Members are involved in volunteer activities with other service clubs, providing opportunities for networking.