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The History of RWICS

In June 2004, the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence (PWHCE) and the Centres of Excellence for Women’s Health (CEWH) released the report Rural, Remote and Northern Women’s Health: Research and Policy Directions (RRNWH). This was a comprehensive, national project on the health concerns of women who live in rural, remote and northern Canada. As requested by the community women involved in the project, a plain language Community Kit was developed shortly afterwards. PWHCE also committed to providing other follow-up to the research.

In September 2004 PWHCE began working with rural women in Saskatchewan as one step in carrying forward the RRNWH report’s recommendations. A Rural Women’s Health Workshop was held November 17, 2004 in Young, Saskatchewan to enable participants to become familiar with the RRNWH recommendations and determine follow-up action for Saskatchewan. The Rural Women’s Issues Committee of Saskatchewan was formed at that meeting, to determine how this group might meet again and how to involve other rural women in similar events. A second workshop was held on March 15, 2005.

In 2005 and 2006 RWICS received grants from the Women’s Program of Status of Women Canada, which combined with continued support from the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence, the Centre for Rural Studies and Enrichment in Muenster, Saskatchewan, and the support of RWICS' enthusiastic volunteer committee members, enabled RWICS to propel its work.

Through RIWCS, workshops took place in several Saskatchewan locations and a Policy Forum was held in Muenster. Women attending those events identified Issues, Visions and Actions for improving the well-being of rural women and their communities. A workshop on rural women and leadership was also held in Davidson. The participants in these events suggested over 300 actions, which have been described in the workshop reports from each event. Go to publications page.

List of all workshops:

  • Rural Women’s Health Workshop: Meeting One, November 17, 2004, Young
  • Rural Women’s Health Workshop: Meeting Two, March 15, 2005, Young
  • Rural Women’s Action Workshop, April 25th - 26th, 2005, Nipawin
  • Rural Women’s Action Workshop May 17th -18th, 2005, Swift Current
  • Rural Women’s Action Workshop April 7th - 8th, 2006, Carlyle
  • Rural Women’s Action Workshop October 20-21, 2006, Unity
  • Rural Women’s Action Workshop October 27-28, 2006, Christopher Lake
  • Rural Women’s Policy Forum, November 24-26, 2006, Muenster.
  • “Leaders for Tomorrow: Rural Women Creating Change” Workshop, February 7 - 8, 2009, Davidson

Presentations from the Davidson workshop: "Leadership by Rural Women" and "Making Their Voices Heard" and the paper "Leadership Training Opportunities for Rural Women in Saskatchewan".

During the “Empowering Rural Women’s Voices” project small grants were given out for activities related to topics raised in the RWICS workshops.

RWICS has been in the news on local radio stations, weekly newspapers, in the Western Producer, and the Regina Leader Post. Reports from the RWICS workshops were sent to Saskatchewan policy-makers. RWICS representatives attend several provincial and federal policy and planning meetings.

Presentations about the RWICS project and the concerns and visions of rural women were highlighted in PowerPoint presentations to: Alberta Women’s Institute at Wainwright, the Crop Production Show in Saskatoon, the Public Health and the Agricultural Rural Ecosystem international conference in Saskatoon, the New Directions in Population Health Research conference in Regina, and the Looking Back, Thinking Ahead conference of the Atlantic Centre of Excellence on Women’s Health in Halifax.

Funding for the RWICS Project, “Empowering Rural Women’s Voices”, came to an end on March 31, 2009.

The enthusiasm generated by RWICS is continuing on in a new group linking rural and urban women to exchange ideas and information and identify opportunities to work together toward common goals.

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