What Can We Do for You?
The Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre was founded in the spring of 1973, following an event called the Northern Women’s Conference, which was organized by local women’s consciousness-raising groups. Over the years countless projects, initiatives and organizations have emerged as a result of women organizing together through the auspices of the NOWC. We have been in existence for 40 years, but our daily focus remains on four critical issues for women: violence and poverty, access to justice and human rights. In addition, we continue to be committed to addressing issues of sexism, racism, homophobia, ableism and all forms of economic discrimination.
Our role in supporting individual women mainly involves procuring or ensuring access to various existing services, systems or decision makers.
1. Information and Referral: Staff information about services and resources for women, and make referrals in the following areas:
- Violence against women
- Family and criminal law
- Poverty/social assistance
- Health/reproductive rights
- Employment rights
- Sexual harassment
- GLBTQ issues
- Discrimination and human rights
2. Individual Support and Advocacy: Individual women regularly request support, information and advice to deal with personal issues such as an abusive partner, custody or access problems, sexual harassment or assault, conflict with Social Services, Human Rights complaints, and various other social, economic and systemic difficulties. We listen to their concerns, provide information about the issues, agencies and systems involved and help them develop a strategy.
3. Public Education and Community Development: The Centre houses a large publicly accesssible resource library dedicated to women’s issues. Staff are available to speak at schools and other organizations on Anti-violence, Anti-Racism/Oppression and Anti-Poverty. We organize information clinics for women on legal rights issues. In addition, we respond to the media on current issues that affect women, organize workshops and conferences.
4. Community Involvement: NOWC works cooperatively with many other local organizations on a broad range of social justice issues. A representative from the centre participates in a number of inter agency committees and coalitions including the Coordinating Committee to End Woman Abuse in Thunder Bay and District, the Economic Justice Committee, and the Thunder Bay Food Network etc.
5. Facilities: Our office space includes a comfortable and informal setting for women and their children who drop in to chat or use our resources. Our meeting space and office equipment is available to individuals or women’s groups.