Maureen Hill (contact) ASWAC & Endometriosis Assoc. (Edmonton Chapter) P.O. Box 11184 Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3K5 Phone: 403-421-0306; Fax: 403-425-3293 or 403-428-1066
Mary Burlie (Coordinating Committee) Boyle Street Community Services Co-op Main Floor, 9720-102 Avenue Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4B2 Phone: 403-424-4106; Fax: 403-425-2205
Alma Brooks (Coordinating Committee) Gignoo N.B. Native Transition House P.O.Box 3385 Station B Fredericton, New Brunswick E3A 5H2 Phone: 506-458-1236; Fax: 506-451-9386
Monica McCunn (contact) (Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women) Now with: Planned Parenthood - Pictou County c/o Pictou Women's Centre P.O. Box 964 New Glasgow, Nova Scotia B2H 5K7 Phone: (w) 902-755-6300; (h) 902-396-4236; Fax: 902-755-6302
Nuzhath Leedham (Coordinating Committee) Riverdale Immigrant Women's Centre 100-1326 Gerrard St. E. Toronto, Ontario M4L 1Z1 Phone: 416-465-6021; Fax: 416-465-4785
Carla Marcelis (Coordinating Committee) Women's Health Interaction c/o Convergence 1-37 Clarence Street Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5P4 Phone: 613-241-7962; (h) 819-456-4195; Fax: 613-594-4704
Lise Lamontagne (Coordinating Committee) Regroupement des Centres de santé des femmes du Québec 4332A rue St. Denis Montréal, Québec H2J 2K8 Phone: 514-844-0909; Fax: 514-844-2498 Margo Fauchon (Coordinating Committee) Fédération Provinciale des Fransaskoises C.P. 216 Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan S0H 1X0 Phone: (w) 306-648-2791; Fax: 306-648-2722 (h) 306-648-2256
Gene Lara (Coordinating Committee) Immigrant Women of Sask. Inc. & Domestic Workers Association of Saskatchewan 2248 Lorne St. Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 2M7 Phone: 306-359-6514; Fax: 306-757-4548
Marnie Essery DAWN B.C. (DAWN Board of Directors, in the process of considering a substitute) 506 Lone Tree Place, RR#6 Victoria, British Columbia V9B 5T9 Phone: 604-474-5939; Fax: 604-474-5939
Sari Tudiver (Coordinating Committee) Women's Health Clinic Third floor, 419 Graham Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0M3 Phone: 204-947-1517; Fax: 204-943-3844
WORKING GROUPS/GROUPES DE TRAVAIL:
Raine McKay (Communications) Vancouver Women's Health Collective 219-1675 West 8th Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1V2 Phone: 604-736-4234; Fax: 604-736-2152
Catherine Martell (Communications) Vancouver Women's NRTs Coalition Box 4285 Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 3Z7 Phone: 604-683-0818; (w) 604-666-0664; Fax: 604-666-0667
Maggie Thompson (Membership) 1761 Lee Avenue Victoria, British Columbia V8R 4W7 Phone: 604-370-2816
Val Wiebe Alberta Catalyst Group 922-9th Ave. S.E. Calgary, Alberta T2G 0S4 Phone: 403-266-2622; Fax: 403-266-2692
Wilma Busaan Alberta Farm Women's Network 9623-83 St. Edmonton, Alberta T6C 3A3 Phone: 403-327-9262; (h) 403-885-4416; Fax: 403-782-2866
Maureen Hill ASWAC and Endometriosis Assoc. (Edmonton Chapter) P.O. Box 11184 Edmonton, Alberta T5J 3K5 Phone: 403-421-0306; Fax: 403-425-3293 or 403-428-1066
Mary Burlie Boyle Street Community Services Co-op Main Floor 9720-102 Ave. Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4B2 Phone: 403-424-4106; Fax: 403-425-2205
Helen Soliman Changing Together: Centre for Immigrant Women 10010-107 A Ave. Rm 103 Edmonton, Alberta T5H 4H8 Phone: 403-421-0175
France Savard Comitè Femmes, Assoc. Can. FranOmegaaise de l'Alberta 100, 8925-82e av. Edmonton, Alberta T6C 0Z2 Phone: 403-469-4401; Fax: 403-466-8827
Lori Dobson I Know - Breast Implant Information Association 26 Wentworth Crescent Okotoks, Alberta T0L 1T2 Phone: 403-938-4812; Fax: 403-938-4812
British Columbia / Colombie-Britannique
Maggie Thompson B.C. Schizophrenia Society 1761 Lee Avenue Victoria, British Columbia V8R 4W7 Phone: 604-370-2816
Linda Dimock B.C. Yukon Society of Transition Houses 204-409 Granville Street Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 1T2 Phone: 604-669-6943; Fax: 604-682-6962
Stephanie Staus Chetwynd Women's Resource Society Box 626, 4721 51st St. Chetwynd, British Columbia V0C 1J0 Phone: 604-788-3793; Fax: 604-788-3726
Beth Hutchinson Crabtree Corner, YWCA 101 East Cordova Vancouver, British Columbia V6A 1K7 Phone: 604-689-2808; Fax: 604-684-9171
Marnie Essery DisAbled Women's Network (British Columbia) 506 Lone Tree Place, RR#6 Victoria, British Columbia V9B 5T9 Phone: 604-474-5939; Fax: 604-474-5939
Zarina Mosaheb O.A.S.I.S. 8165 Main St. Vancouver, British Columbia V5X 3L2 Phone: 604-324-8186; Fax: 604-325-4499
Louise Cantin Merler Reseau-femmes Colombie-Britannique / FNFCF 1555, 7 Ave. ouest Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1S1 Phone: 604-738-7322; Fax: 604-736-2152
Raine McKay Vancouver Women's Health Collective 219-1675 West 8th Vancouver, British Columbia V6J 1V2 Phone: 604-736-4234; Fax: 604-736-2152
Catherine Martell Vancouver Women's NRTs Coalition Box 4285 Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 3Z7 Phone: 604-683-0818; (w) 604-666-0664; Fax: 604-666-0667
Valerie Oglov Women and Work Research and Education Society #703 !144 W. 14th St. North Vancouver, B.C. V7M 1P1 Phone: 604-987-7640
Penny Yellen Age & Opportunity Elder Abuse Resource Centre 309-323 Portage Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2C1 Phone: 204-942-6235; Fax: 204-947-5178
Merle Fletcher Congress of Black Women (Manitoba Chapter) 105-45 Gaylene Place Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 5V1 Phone: 204-787-3757 or 787-3758
Justine Kiwanuka Disabled Peoples International 101-7 Evergreen Place Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 2T3 Phone: 204-287-8010; Fax: 204-287-8175
*Mary Staniscia Indigenous Women's Collective of Manitoba 120-388 Donald St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 2J4 Phone: 204-944-8709; Fax: 204-949-1336
*Lois Neabel Manitoba Women's Institute 908-401 York Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0P8 Phone: 204-945-8976; Fax: 204-945-6134
*Lucille Sharon Bruce Native Women's Transition Centre 105 Aikins St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R2W 4E4 Phone: 204-989-8240
Margaret Ormond POWER 50 Argyle St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0H6 Phone: 204-943-6379; 943-9355; Fax: 204-582-1341
Julianne Sanguins The Pas Committee for Women in Crisis, Inc., Aurora House Box 3779 The Pas, Manitoba R9A 1S4 Phone: 204-623-7427; Fax: 204-623-3901
Barbara Wiktorowicz Women's Health Clinic Third floor, 419 Graham Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0M3 Phone: 204-947-1517; Fax: 204-943-3844
North West Territories / T.N.O.
Mary Anne Jeremick'ca Native Women's Association of the N.W.T. P.O.Box 2321 Yellowknife, N.W.T. X1A 2P7 Phone: 403-873-5509; Fax: 403-873-3152
New Brunswick / Nouveau Brunswick
Alma Brooks Gignoo N.B. Native Transition House P.O.Box 3385 Station B Fredericton, New Brunswick R3A 5H2 Phone: 506-458-1236; Fax: 506-451-9386
Mirline Bollman New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women 95 Foundry St., Suite 207 Moncton, New Brunswick E1C 5H7 Phone: 506-853-1088; Fax: 506-859-2990
Maria Storaszczuk-Reid Women Working with Immigrant Women 361 Queen Street Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 1B1 Phone: 506-458-5708; Fax: 506-459-1756
Newfoundland / Terre-Neuve
Judith Gillis Bay St. George Status of Women Council Box 501, 54 St. Clare Avenue Stephenville, Newfoundland A2N 3B4 Phone: 709-643-4444; Fax: 709-643-9160
Merlee Steele-Rodway Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses' Union P. O. Box 416 St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 5J9 Phone: 709-753-9961; Fax: 709-753-1210
Nova Scotia / Nouvelle-Ecosse
*Monique AuCoin L'Association des Acadiennes de la N.-E. 1106, Rue South Park Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 2W7 Phone: 902-421-1772; Fax: 902-422-3942
Monica McCunn (Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women) Now with: Planned Parenthood - Pictou County c/o Pictou Women's Centre P.O. Box 964 New Glasgow, Nova Scotia B2H 5K7 Phone: (w) 902-755-6300; (h) 902-396-4236; Fax: 902-755-6302
Pauline Raven Planned Parenthood Nova Scotia Suite 100 Quinpool Medical Center,6156 Quinpool Road Halifax, Nova Scotia B3L 1A3 Phone: 902-492-0444; Fax: 902-492-7155
Juanita Smith AIDS Committee of Toronto Box 55, Station F Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2L4 Phone: 416-340-2437; Fax: 416-340-8224
Linda Edmison Amethyst Women's Addiction Centre 488 Wilbrod Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6M8 Phone: 613-563-0363; Fax: 613-565-2175
Diane Adam Comité consultatif des affaires francophones MEF Collège universitaire de Glendon de l'université York 2275 Bayview Street Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M6 Phone: 416-487-6727; Fax: 416-487-6786
Lorin MacDonald DisAbled Women's Network 1700-180 Dundas St. W. Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8 Phone: 416-598-2438; Fax: 416-974-9450
Claudette Lavoie Federation des femmes canadiennes-francaises de l'Ontario 20, chemin Ste-Anne Sudbury, Ontario P3C 5E1 Phone: 705-671-1409; Fax: 705-671-1733
Sunera Thobani National Action Cttee on the Status of Women/Health Committee 203-234 Eglinton Avenue East Toronto, Ontario M4P 1K5 Phone: 416-932-1718; Fax: 416-932-0646
Michelle Murphy Native Women's Resource Centre of Toronto 191 Gerrard Street East Toronto, Ontario M5A 2E5 Phone: 416-963-9963; Fax: 416-963-9573
Monica Riutort (Regional Women's Health Centre) Now with: Multicultural Assistance Services of Peel 6th floor, 3025 Hurontario Street Mississauga, Ontario L5A 2H1 Phone: 905-273-7129, Fax: 905-273-7632
Nuzhath Leedham Riverdale Immigrant Women's Centre 100-1326 Gerrard St. E Toronto, Ontario M4L 1Z1 Phone: 416-465-6021; Fax: 416-465-4785
Heather Easterbrook Sudbury Women's Center 258 Victoria Street Sudbury, Ontario P3C 1K4 Phone: 705-673-1916; Fax: 705-673-1916
Anne Rochon Ford Toronto Women's Health Network 24 Lonsdale Road Toronto, Ontario M4V 1W3 Phone: 416-482 6591; Fax: 416-488-8895
Jane Bremner Women's Health Care Centre 411 Water Street Peterborough, Ontario K9H 3L9 Phone: 705-876-5031; Fax: 705-876-5118
Carla Marcelis Women's Health Interaction c/o Convergence 1-37 Clarence Street Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5P4 Phone: 613-241-7962; (h) 819-456-4195; Fax: 613-594-4704
Prince Edward Island / Ile du Prince Edouard
June Black and Suzanne Labelle DisAbled Women's Network PEI P.O. Box 2128, 164 Richmond St. Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7N7 Phone: 902-892-9149; Fax: 902-566-1919
Leslie Howes East Prince Women's Information Centre 75 Central St. Summerside, PEI C1N 3L2 Phone: 902-436-9856; Fax: 902-436-9856
Eleni Lilly Kolaitis ACCESS/Communauté Héllenique de Montréal 5777 av. Wilderton Montréal, Québec H3S 2V7 Phone: 514-738-2421; Fax: 514-842-4106
Carolyn Gibson Badger Breast Cancer Action Montreal 4115 Sherbrooke St. W. #503 Montréal, Québec H3Z 1K9 Phone: 514-989-1010; Fax: 514-931-5629
Renée Delarosbil Carrefour Naissance-Famille du Bas-Richelieu 189 du Prince Local 210 Sorel, Québec J3P 4K6 Phone: 514-743-0359; Fax: 514-743-1769
Lucie Thibodeau Centre de femmes Inter-femmes 221 A Notre-Dame Repentigny, Québec J6A 2R4 Phone: 514-654-9621
Suzanne Bissonnette Centre Femmes D'Aujourdhui 1474 Boul. Rene Lévesque Ouest Québec, Québec G1D 1C2 Phone: 418-683-2548; Fax: 418-683-6900
Diane Favreau CLSC Metro 1550 de Maisonneuve ouest Montréal, Québec H3G 1N2 Phone: 514-934-0354; Fax: 514-934-3776
Michele Dionne Coalition pour le droit a l'avortement-region Québec C.P.37005 Québec, Québec G1R 5P5 Phone: 418-649-9946
Harriet Simand DES Action Canada 5890 Monkland Ave. bur 203 Montréal, Québec H4A 1G2 Phone: 514-482-3204; Fax: 514-482-1445 in Toronto: 416-462-3687; Fax: 416-971-6108
Micheline Boucher Féd. du Québec pour le Planning des Naissances / CINBOISE 2540 Sherbrooke est, bureau 1 Montréal, Québec H2K 1E9 Phone: 514-522-6511; 514-987-8426; Fax: 514-987-6183
Donna Cherniak Montreal Health Press P.O. Box 1000 Station Place du Parc Montréal, Québec H2W 2N1 Phone: 514-282-1171; Fax: 819-565-4411
Roxane Plourde Naissance Renaissance 530 Cherrier Montréal, Québec H2L 1H3 Phone: 514-843-9552; Fax: 514-843-7821
Lise Lamontagne Regroupement des Centres de santé des femmes du Québec 4332 A rue St. Denis Montréal, Québec H2J 2K8 Phone: 514-844-0909; Fax: 514-844-2498
Helene Gosselin S.B.R.R.B.S. 79c Dufferin C.P. 278 Stanstead, Québec J0B 3E0 Phone: 819-876-7748; Fax: 819-876-7515
*Sylvie Dubé Société de l'Ostéoporose du Canada (Séction Québec) 2170 Avenue Lincoln, Ph 2 Montréal, Québec H3H 2N5 Phone: 514-935-3726; Fax: 514-935-5049
Margo Fauchon Fédération Provinciale des Fransaskoises C.P. 216 Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan S0H 1X0 Phone: 306-648-2791; Fax: 306-648-2722
Gene Lara Immigrant Women of Sask. Inc. and Domestic Workers Association of Saskatchewan 2248 Lorne St. Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 2M7 Phone: 306-359-6514; Fax: 306-757-4548
Maija Lisa Kagis Saskatchewan Health Coalition c/o 80 Bell St. Ottawa, Ont. K1R 7C7 Phone: (h) 613-238-1641; Fax: 613-729-2745
Louise Bouvier Native Women's Assoc. of Canada/Yukon Indian Women's Association 11 Nisultin Drive Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 3S4 Phone: 403-667-6162; Fax: 403-668-7539
Jane Haydock-Lane Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre 8-106 Main St. Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2A8 Phone: 403-667-2693; Fax: 403-668-4064
Kim Bailey 468 Campbell St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3N 1B9 Phone: 204-488-2773
Gabriela Rodrigues 2-55 Cornish Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B1
Maureen McIntosh 899 Lipton St. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 2L7 Phone: 204-783-1488
Madeline Boscoe c/o Women's Health Clinic Third Floor, 419 Graham Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0M3 Phone: 204-947-1517; Fax: 204-943-3844
Gio Guzzi c/o Women's Health Clinic Third Floor, 419 Graham Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0M3 Phone: 204-947-1517; Fax: 204-943-3844
Paula Keirstead Independent Living Resource Centre 201-294 Portage Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0B9 Phone: 204-947-0194; Fax: 204-942-3146
Cheryl Osborne Klinic Community Health Centre 870 Portage Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3G 0P1 Phone: 204-784-4090; Fax: 204-772-7998
Norma Buchan Women's Health Research Foundation 217 Ferndale Ave. Winnipeg, Manitoba R2H 2L1 Phone: 204-787-3391; Fax: 204-787-4973
Michelle Cenerini, Liaison Coordinator / Coordinatrice Pluri-elles (Manitoba) Inc. C.P.72 LaSalle, Manitoba R0G 1B0 Phone: 204-736-2970; Fax: 204-736-2970
Sari Tudiver, Consultation Coordinator / Coordinatrice Women's Health Clinic Third floor, 419 Graham Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 0M3 Phone: 204-947-1517; Fax: 204-943-3844
Janet Creery Healthsharing Magazine 14 Skey Lane Toronto, Ontario M6J 3S4 Phone: 416 532 0812; Fax: 416-588-6638
Amy Gottlieb Healthsharing Magazine 14 Skey Lane Toronto, Ontario M6J 3S4 Phone: 416-532-0812; Fax: 416-588-6638
Lisa Huncar Healthsharing Magazine 14 Skey Lane Toronto, Ontario M6J 3S4 Phone: 416-532-0812; Fax: 416-588-6638
(Note: Healthsharing is no longer publishing)
Popular Theatre Alliance of Manitoba 2nd floor, 413 Selkirk Avenue Winnipeg, Manitoba R2W 2M4 Phone: 204-589-8408; Fax: 204-586-0486
Margo Charlton, Donna Huen, Janine Gibson, Maija Kagis, Marjorie Beaucage, Keosomsy Phanthavongs, Maureen McIntosh, Paula Kierstead, Beatrice Watson and Flo May
In addition to the women who attended the Consultation, many have contacted us about the Canadian Women's Health Network. Please contact the Winnipeg address to receive information about others in your area who may be involved.
* Unable to attend the Consultation due to illness or other last minute circumstances.
There is funding for about 60 representatives of groups or organizations to attend the Consultation.
In trying to develop a fair selection process for the Canadian Women's Health Network Consultation, the organizing committee circulated a draft document of the principles and process for choosing representatives for the Consultation in English and French to a range of groups and organizations involved in women's health across Canada for feedback and suggestions. The suggestions made are incorporated into this document.
This document includes:
Please read these and consider having your group or organization apply to attend the Consultation. An application form is enclosed. We welcome any suggestions, comments or questions about this document and about the Consultation.
· Representatives will include women of various ages, race, ethnic and
socio-economic backgrounds, abilities/disabilities, sexual orientation, and
· The language needs of the women attending are accommodated. The Consultation
will offer translation in English, French and ASL (English and French). We encourage women to let us know of other language needs. · Through active outreach, women and organizations/groups working in the area of women's health who in the past may have been left out of other initiatives will be encouraged to participate.
· Women's groups/organizations from all provinces and territories will be present
at the Consultation (note: `groups' may be informal).
· Within each province, northern, rural, small town and urban perspectives will be represented.
· Women's health groups often left out because of location, will have access to the process, this will require good outreach.
What Consultation Participants and Their Organizations Would Be Expected to Do
The Consultation is planned as a working meeting, to discuss and develop strategies for building a cross-Canada women's health network. While the Consultation should be challenging and fun, representatives and their organizations are expected to prepare for the meeting and to carry out some follow-up actitivies. These are seen as key to the overall success of the project.
Representatives and their groups/organizations should be committed to networking (linking, communicating, finding common ground and shared understandings with other groups) and participating in the continuation of a cross- Canada process.
Representatives should be willing to commit themselves to prepare for the Consultation. This would involve: consulting with local groups or organizations about visions and strategies for building a network; reading materials; preparing a brief presentation based on the struggles, successes and other experiences of their group, participating at the Consultation.
To effectively do this, representatives require the support of their local group /organization. This would include: allowing time for broad discussion with the representative prior to the meeting to provide input and suggestions; and providing support after the meeting to ensure that feedback from the Consultation is widely distributed and discussed.
Representatives and their organizations should be committed to working in their communities, local groups, etc after the Consultation to provide feedback and encourage follow-up. Specific kinds of follow-up activities will be determined by the participants at the Consultation. As appropriate to the resources of the organization, representatives and their groups/organizations should work with others in the women's health community to help build national links.
How Representatives Will Be Chosen
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (sent to participants and others prior to the consultation)
CONSULTATION EVALUATION FORM
WHAT THE PARTICIPANTS SAID
The women who attended the Consultation were asked to fill out an evaluation form and encouraged to write comments about the meeting and its outcomes. The questions tried to address whether the Consultation had met its specific goals. Thirty-two women (26 Anglophone, 6 Francophone) out of a possible seventy-two (this excluded the organizers) responded, for a response rate of just over 40%. All the responses and detailed comments were compiled and are available for review upon request. Only brief highlights are included here.
Overall, women were very positive about the Consultation, seeing it as a well-organized and accessible event that created a comfortable, supportive environment. The committee's efforts to make the meeting as inclusive as possible were appreciated, but some participants noted they would have liked to see more young and elderly women and a stronger presence of Aboriginal women, Asian women and mental health consumers, among others.
While women liked the breaks, snacks and one free evening, several felt the pace of the meeting was too quick, especially towards the end. For women with particular disabilities, this was sometimes exhausting.
It proved difficult in the time we had to explore possible network models and develop a detailed action plan that would lay a strong basis for networking over the next several years. A few women suggested that we might have built into the agenda discussion of various models based on the experiences of other networks or coalitions. We might have focused more specifically on the questions we had sent out. Regional or local groups could have been meeting to formulate ideas prior to the Consultation to move the process forward (we had tried to encourage this). National organizations might have identified their responsibilities more clearly in furthering the network.
Several women said they would have liked more direction and structure in their small group; in some groups popular theatre exercises took too much time in relation to the tasks that needed to be done. While most women agreed that things "came together" by the final morning and a great deal was accomplished, decisions were rushed at the end. Some women who had long journeys home had already left and did not participate in setting the final plans.
Some women felt that a clear action plan was in motion, while others were less confident. But almost everyone saw the Consultation to be of long-term benefit to the Canadian women's health movement. Many commented on the powerful bonds they had formed with others, laying a strong basis for the network. Women acknowledged that much work lies ahead, but said they were motivated and had renewed energy to go back to their organizations and communities. As one woman said, "The meeting gave me hope and courage to continue not just for myself but for other women and future generations."
WHAT THE ORGANIZERS LEARNED IN HOSTING THE CONSULTATION
The Organizing Committee was intent on creating a process of network-building that would be respectful of women's diversity and needs. We knew this was essential to hosting an event that would be a success. We consulted broadly, trying to reach a wide range of women's groups throughout Canada. We struggled with a number of concerns:
Although we knew English would predominate, we were committed to having the meeting as comfortably bilingual as possible.
We knew that the Consultation would bring together women for whom the network was a new idea, those who knew a bit about the project and others with long-term commitment and involvement. Our challenge was to acknowledge and plan for the different levels of ownership and knowledge about the project. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable enough to participate in sharing ideas and strategies.
We all had experiences at other events which had not been genuinely inclusive or taken into account the needs of women with disabilities. We tried to ensure from the start that our diversity was respected and honoured and would help define why we were there and how we can learn from one another.
Since the Consultation was not focused on specific women's health issues but on network-building, we wanted to avoid a rigid academic conference model, but be flexible and able to change gears in response to what women saw as necessary to achieve the goals.
In the limited time we had, we needed to emerge with an agreement about common goals and an action plan that was acceptable to the participants in taking us forward to achieve these goals.
We had limited resources in terms of money and staff time for follow-up after the Consultation.
In hindsight, what would we do differently, given the same time constraints and resources?
First, we would have had presentations exploring different women's health network models (e.g. U.S., Australia, Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network) - looking at how some of these networks get things done, their strengths and weaknesses. We had talked about doing this in earlier stages of planning, and even of sending out information about these beforehand, but did not follow through.
Second, we would have looked for clearer ways to address the different mechanisms and processes groups and organizations have for how they handle decision-making. We recognized that this was just the beginning.
Third, despite feeling stretched in terms of planning time, we would not again hire facilitators who had not been part of the process. Certainly some of the facilitation worked creatively and well and contributed to the comfortable atmosphere and strong links among the women. At other times, where facilitators did not have a clear grasp of the goals of the Consultation, the process floundered and needed to be revived. Participants either regrouped to get a task done (the process was flexible enough to allow for this), or facilitators involved with the network process took the lead in moving things along. We might have asked more of the participants to share in facilitating the groups.
As a result, we have lots of ideas and helpful suggestions for whoever plans the next meeting!