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Ontario Women’s History Network Conference – Fall 2018

From their website:

“The Ontario Women’s History Network (OWHN) is a non-profit, Registered Charity organization affiliated with the Ontario Historical Society. OWHN encourages the preservation, production, and dissemination of women’s and gender history in Ontario, with a special emphasis on the teaching and study of that history. We welcome students, teachers, museum professionals, public historians, professors, archivists, librarians, independent researchers, and others interested in women’s and gender history.”

This year’s conference will be held in Ottawa/Gatineau on October 26th and 27th and focuses on examining “intersections between public history and women’s/gender history, with emphasis on museum exhibits, and teaching opportunities”.

Learn more/save the date on the OWHN website.

Get ready… to share your [her]stories!

OUR SHARED STORIES is a new digital project inviting youth from across Ontario to create short videos, focussed specifically on women and youth immigration and newcomer stories.

The Ontario Heritage Fairs Association (OHFA) is seeking bold young visionaries to create a 3 to 4-minute video on their mobile devices, inspired by one of the following ideas:

  • Immigration stories from your family or community
  • Stories of newcomers or refugees and their impact on the community
  • Artistic works from your community, including dance, music performance, visual art, photography, or theatrical performance
  • Making links to the land or spaces where people meet (could be a natural green space, or farm, or building of significance such as a town hall or community centre)

This project will feature different regional communities across the province. Because it focuses on immigrant women and youth, culture and the arts, it allows diverse voices to be heard and known, preserved in the first languages of participants, and transcribed for accessibility.

The final videos will be posted on the OHHFA “” website and will be screened at the OHFA 2018 Provincial Heritage Fair at York University in June, 2018!

Visit for:

  • project guidelines,
  • awesome resources for creating and editing your video from actual filmmakers, and
  • the video submission portal!



Equal Pay Day 2018 – Mark your calendars (and take a seat and do some reading)



Tuesday, April 10th marks “Equal Pay Day”, the day where women’s earnings from the previous Calendar year equal their male counterparts. If you are unfamiliar with the notion of the wage gap, the premise is that on average, women earn about three-quarters of a dollar for every dollar earned by a man. This varies widely by ethnicity.

Consider checking out this resource on the wage gap (links to other resources and studies are included in the link below):

At the same time, many scientists have called into question the way statistics about wage are being used. Statistics and scientific studies, after all, are not infallible. For example, this 2016 article by The Atlantic writer Bourree Lam, “What Gender Pay-Gap Statistics Aren’t Capturing” points out that most pay-gap models do not account for “differences in education, experience, age, location, job title, industry and even company”. When controlling for these factors, the gap is reduced. Cultural values and beliefs are not controlled for or explored, which, Lam suggests, could have a further impact on the gap.

Indeed, stay-at-home motherhood is on the rise (or deeply rooted) in some countries, and supported ardently by many women themselves. The reasons for this are of course, complex and multi-faceted, but they do raise important questions about how we define “equality” or “equity” and how we use statistics to enforce those definitions.

This is a fantastic opportunity for discussion in your history or social science classroom. Trouble simplistic narratives about wage gaps. Bring in intersectional lenses (what impacts does race have on wage? what are possible reasons for this?) and have deeper conversations without clear resolutions. Get messy. History is a verb (Sandwell, 2011), after all.

In short, if the wage gap is more complex than women simply being offered less money, the solution will likely have to be more complex as well.


Chamie, J. (2018, January 25). Despite Growing Gender Equality, More Women Stay at Home Than Men. Retrieved from

Lam, B. (2016, July 27). What Gender Pay-Gap Statistics Aren’t Capturing. Retrieved from

Ruth Sandwell (2011), “History is a Verb: Teaching Historical Practice to Teacher Education Students” in Penney Clark, ed., New Possibilities for the Past: Shaping History Education in Canada, Vancouver: UBC Press. 224-242.


Women’s History in the News… With the Canadian National Anthem!

In January 2018, the Canadian Senate passed a bill to make the Canadian national anthem gender neutral. Many Canadians are unaware of the fact that the original national anthem was gender neutral, being changed in 1913 to the “in all thy sons command” version. Regardless, the change (or reversion back to the original version) has sparked a heated debate across Canada, from some bill opponents (e.g. some Conservative MPs and Senators) to indigenous and other groups who have suggested that the change does little to change the narrative of colonialism that has dominated the conversation for hundreds of years.

April 2018 Update

Hello all! A quick update. The site is currently being reworked and revamped over the coming months. On the docket are archiving past talks for greater accessibility and taking a more thematic approach to organizing teacher resources. Additional resources/expanded resources are also on the way! Stay tuned!

– Rose Fine-Meyer and Victoria Marsh

2015 Update on Talks

Many of you have written to inquire about our next Herstoriescafe. We experienced major changes this year and decided to take a sabbatical from the talks. However, we are currently working on a new plan for talks in the coming year. We will keep you posted on new developments soon. If you are an educator we encourage you to explore our Teachers Resources section and list of talk themes for ideas about materials for your classrooms. Thanks for all your support! Rose and Kate

Valerie Knapp


“Stitched Stories”
The Guild Shop – 118 Cumberland Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5R 1A6 – 416.921.1721 –
September 25th, 2013 – 6:30~9:00 (Presentation starting at 7:00 pm)

Artist Valerie Knapp Biography: Growing up in the beautiful lake district of Muskoka, Valerie was quick to join the Textile Studio at the then named Sheridan College School of Design (SOD grad’75). Wanderlust lead to a year in Paris, returning to found Viverie, an enterprising company of 10 vibrant years designing screen-printed fabrics, fashion and home furnishings. She went on to design textiles for children’s wear, raise a family, do graduate work in education (UofT), Head the Textile Studio at Sheridan College, teach, volunteer and exhibit. Today Valerie maintains an established Toronto practice comprised of her varied and poetic repertoire of printed and embroidered textile- and paper-based works including wall work, artist books, and the series Boxed Embroideries. She also designs a compelling product line and occasionally collaborates on custom textile projects for interiors.

Artist Statement/Presentation Description: Through processes including relief printing, drawing, embroidery, sewing and writing, Valerie explores ideas of memory, containment, conservation and time. Assembling and organizing is central to her work, as are repetition, pattern, sketching and storytelling. Stitches form a face, lines and dots from a pod, ink forms a dress and perforations can form a trunk.

For Herstories Cafe, Valerie will be looking back at her development as an artist, touching on her formative years of influence and education. While delving into more detail on recent years of her practice, she will discuss significant historical and contemporary influences and the ideas that shape her work. She will also talk about other relationships, in particular to woman’s lives, around concepts of domesticity, care giving and conserving: some of the ideals of femininity.

The Guild Shop and the Ontario Crafts Council: The Guild Shop is a program of the Ontario Crafts Council (OCC). The OCC is a not-for-profit, member-based organization that supports and is supported by the craft community. The scope of the OCC programming is far and wide: juried exhibitions at our gallery and offices, currently located at 990 Queen Street, West, Toronto, Ontario; awards and scholarships; Studio magazine, a biannual national publication; workshops, seminars and conferences; tangible benefits to our craftspeople, such as discounts for materials and resources and group rates for insurance benefits; and of course The Guild Shop.

At any given time, the OCC community is roughly 900-1200 members strong. And of those members, over 250 craftspeople are represented at The Guild Shop. Aside from these Southern Provincial representation are the Inuit and Native artists who are a crucial part of the success of the OCC as well. To note, The Guild Shop was the first establishment in Toronto to represent Inuit art, and continues to carry on the tradition of excellence and viability for many artists and communities.

The Guild Shop celebrates its 81st year.

Please have a Valerie Knapp website,

This event will take place in the Inuit & Native gallery section of the Guild Shop.