The Manitoba Action Committee on the Status of Women (MACSW) was a volunteer-based, non-profit feminist organization working through political action, public education, and personal growth in order to improve attitudes, raise issues, and remove inequalities affecting women. MACSW formed in 1971 after a group of women presented a brief to the federal Royal Commission on the Status of Women in 1967. MACSW had branches in Brandon, Dauphin, Thompson, and Winnipeg, with regular meetings and frequent provincial gatherings (2-4 per year).
MACSW took a leadership role in lobbying government, edu, and building coalitions on many feminist issues such as violence against women, sexual harassment, rape, pay equity, economic issues, child abuse and incest, sex-trade workers, anti-racism, abortion rights, gay and lesbian rights, eco-feminism, women’s health, media, pornography, childcare, midwifery and birth choices, and international women’s issues. We also helped to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous women together to discuss the overlapping issues of sexism, classism, and racism, and to lobby the government for action on these issues. Some years, we participated in the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) gatherings, which were very empowering and inspiring, and we also hosted NAC speakers in our province.
MACSW published the newsletter ACTION (6-9 times a year, depending on funding from the Secretary of State Women’s Program) with information about Branch activities, upcoming activities, and current feminist issues. MACSW closed in 1999 after cutbacks from the federal government, but the Committee served as a training ground and forum for three decades of feminists who learned about feminist consensus, equitable decision-making, and fighting injustices and inequalities in many forms.
Fiona Muldrew, Newsletter Coordinator, 1992-1994