National meeting of Canada's largest women's organization to focus on issues of sustainability in the lives of women

    TORONTO, June 4 /CNW/ - Critical issues of sustainability in the lives of
women will be the focal point of YWCA Canada's 116th Annual Membership
Meeting, taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia, June 6-8. The meeting
will be attended by YWCA leaders from all over Canada and around the world. It
is the most important gathering of the year for the YWCA, the oldest and
largest multi-service women's organization in Canada.
    The theme of this year's meeting is sustainability, broadly defined to
include sustainable social and economic change and community development
toward an improved status of women. "The obstacles preventing women from
achieving sustainability in their lives take many forms: poverty,
unemployment, gender inequality, violence, exploitation, abuse, and
environmental instability," says Paulette Senior, YWCA Canada Chief Executive
Officer. "The 2008 meeting will explore the linkages between these key issues
and discover ways to empower women and girls, build positive change in their
lives, and work toward sustainable development world wide."
    YWCA Canada will host four remarkable guest speakers at its 2008 meeting:
Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA General Secretary; Mary Ellen
Turpel-Lafond, British Columbia's Representative for Children and Youth; Chief
Kim Baird, Chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation; and Naomi Devine, climate
change and sustainability policy expert from the University of Victoria. Each
speaker will articulate changes in various social infrastructures necessary
for creating sustainability in the lives of women, girls and their
    "The concept of sustainability is much more than environmental protection
in another guise. It is a constructive network of ideas that have as much to
do with achieving gender equality as they do with the well-being of our planet
and ecosystems," says Senior. Gender inequality is a problem in all corners of
world, the global consequences of which transcend all aspects of human
welfare, including poverty, disease, education, and environmental health. As a
result, empowering women is a necessary pre-condition to improving the lives
of our most vulnerable citizens worldwide.
    As the largest multi-service women's organization in the country and a
Turning Point for Women(TM), YWCA Canada has worked for the last 138 years to
address issues of poverty, homelessness and violence against women. With
34 YWCA Member Associations across Canada providing service to 1 million women
and girls each year, YWCA acts and advocates on the key issues affecting
Canadian women and girls.

    All media are invited to attend the following presentations:

    -   Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC Representative for Children and Youth,
        Keynote Address, 9:20 am PST, Friday June 6th
    -   Chief Kim Baird, Tsawwassen First Nation, 9:30 am PST,
        Saturday, June 7
    -   Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda, Secretary General, World YWCA, 2:00 pm PST,
        Saturday, June 7
    -   Naomi Devine, Climate change and sustainability policy expert,
        9:15 am PST, Sunday, June 8

    Interviews with each speaker, Paulette Senior and YWCA spokespersons
including those from our various Member Associations will take place
immediately following the presentations.
    All presentations will take place at the Vancouver Library Square
Conference Centre, 350 West Georgia Street, lower level, Vancouver.
    Media are also invited to attend the welcome and official opening of the
116th YWCA Annual Membership Meeting hosted by YWCA Vancouver and YWCA Canada
at 9:00 am PST.

    About YWCA Canada:

    YWCA Canada is the country's largest and oldest multi-service women's
organization. With 34 Member Associations operating in more than 400 districts
and communities across the country, our Turning Point Programs for Women(TM) -
which address personal safety, economic security and well-being - reach
1 million women and girls in nine provinces and one territory. YWCA is the
largest national provider of shelter to women, serving 25,000 women, children
and teen girls including 6,000 fleeing woman abuse each year. We are the
largest provider of literacy, life skills, employment and counselling programs
in the country, and the second largest provider of childcare services. YWCA
Canada is a member association of the World YWCA which unites 25 million women
and girls worldwide and spans 125 countries. For more information about YWCA
Canada and our Member Associations, visit

For further information:

For further information: and/or to arrange interviews please contact: IN
VANCOUVER: Corinne Rusch-Drutz, Director, Communications & Membership
Development, YWCA Canada, A Turning Point for Women, (416) 399-8235 (cell),; IN TORONTO: Laura Tilley, Interim Communications
Coordinator, YWCA Canada, A Turning Point for Women, P. (416) 962-8881 ext

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YWCA Canada

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