Canadian Women’s Movement Archives

When university students use the library, many of them do not realize that there is a great depth of resources that goes beyond what they find in the stacks. There are statistics, microfilms and archival information, among other useful research sources. At the University of Ottawa, there are many different archives, from the rare collections to the history of the university itself (and the students!) to the Canadian Women’s Movement Archives. Buttons from the women's movement

Why my sudden interest in these archives? Well, to be frank, it is really cool that we have this great source right at the University of Ottawa. What’s great about archives is that they hold more than just books; they hold the primary sources that people write books about. There are button, signs and pictures from political rallies, posters from campuses, community organizations and groups from all over Canada. The material refers to mostly contemporary events, that is, after 1960. They have an entire archive dedicated to the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, a group that has been important on many levels of women’s equity. In terms of politics, the archives have minutes, reports, budgets, and pretty much anything anyone could think of to save about a variety of topics, from the feminist protest about snuff films in Toronto to both pro and anti abortion organizing to pictures from women marching on Parliament Hill.

I bring this up because, during one of my recent visits to the archives, it dawned on me how inspirational I found these items. It showed me how women made change happen, just like women with Equal Voice are working towards. We are making history, and even though I know this could be getting a little too feel-good, that’s pretty cool. And that’s why I’m so excited for Equal Voice’s Leadership Summit next Thursday and Friday, March 10, in Ottawa! Free for students too!

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