(In)Visibility: Giving Women A Voice Conference

The (In)Visibility: Giving Women A Voice Conference was held on November 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2007 at UNBC. The UNBC Northern Women’s Centre and the UNBC School of Social Work Program were co-sponsors of the conference with Dr. Si Transken acting as Principal Investigator. The goal to research, organize and deliver an issues-driven conference of interest to women, men and the whole community was successfully attained. The conference was generously funded by Service Canada, Confederation of Canadian Unions, Dr. Deborah Poff, Dr. Si Transken, BC Government Employees Union, UNBC President’s Executive Council, UNBC School of Social Work, UNBC Women’s Studies Dept., UNBC Northern Women’s Centre and UNBC Northern Undergraduate Student Society
Jacqueline Moyse, Conference and Resource Development Coordinator, Alice Mphafi, Conference and Business Development Coordinator, and Sarah Boyd-Noel, Coordinator of the Northern Women’s Centre worked on the conference along with many dedicated on-campus and community volunteers. Early in the planning for the conference, Jacquie, Alice and Sarah conducted focus groups in the community to determine what issues were on women’s minds. The Phoenix Transition Society, AWAC Women’s Shelter, Northern Women’s Centre and Elizabeth Fry Society were participating organizations. Through the focus groups, nine issues/themes were identified for the conference.

Nine conference themes:

* Women and the Law;

* Child Development and Attachment/Childcare and Advocacy;

* Mental Health/Addictions;

* Poverty and Welfare/Tenancy Rights;

* Gender-Based Violence/Multicultural Lens;

* Youth;

* Women and Spirituality/ Empowering Your Spirit;

* Affordable Housing/Homelessness;

* Women and the Environment.

Please see the Conference Programme and Bios for a listing and description of all conference sessions and presenters.

While at the “(In)Visibility…” conference, participants were asked to write their thoughts on the various issues presented as well as action steps to address these issues. “Footprints” were distributed at each workshop session, filled out by participants to capture their thoughts and then handed in. The raw data from these footprints were incorporated into a working document - the Conference Action Steps document – also attached.

Women and Mountain Pine Beetle forum:

The UNBC Northern Women’s Centre, Women North Network and the School of Social Work organized a one and a half day event entitled, “Boom, Bust and Beyond: Women’s Perspectives on the Mountain Pine Beetle”. The event was held on March 28th - 29th, 2008 at the University of Northern BC. A total of approximately $22,000 in funding was provided by several organizations, including: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Rural Secretariat, Women’s Health Research Network, B.C. Rural and Remote Health Research Network, Stand Up for the North and Northern Women’s Forum.

This gathering explored the social, economic and health-related impacts through the eyes of women from beetle-effected communities, including women from rural and remote areas of B.C. as well as First Nations women. The main goal of the event was to give women an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns about the natural disaster created by the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, and to share strategies to lessen the impact of the epidemic on their health and wellbeing and the future sustainability of their communities. Challenges, assets, solutions and capacity building opportunities were identified. The proceedings from the forum are now Downloadable!