Past President of UWC Winnipeg Sandra Millen and former National President of CFUW Doris Mae Oulton (2014 – 2016) with a poster for for the CFUW Centennial. The picture is of Margaret McWilliams and the setting is the living room of the Ralph Connor House


Canadian delegates to the 1921 Paris Conference of the International Federation of University Women.  Margaret McWilliams is seated at centre.


CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace. CFUW is the largest affiliate of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW), the leading girls’ and women’s global organization run by and for women, advocating for women’s rights, equality and empowerment through access to quality education and training up to the highest levels.

Our vision is of a strong national organization working to ensure that all girls and women have equal opportunities and equal access to quality education within a peaceful and secure environment where their human rights are respected.  Our vision includes a world where poverty is reduced, discrimination eliminated, where there are equal opportunities for leadership, employment, income, education, careers and the ability to maximize potential.
Mission Statement

CFUW will continue to enhance its role as a national, bilingual, independent organization striving to promote equality, social justice, fellowship and life-long learning for women and girls.

CFUW’s Purpose

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW/FCFDU) is a leading national equality-seeking organization that works to advance the human rights of women and girls.

  1. Promote high standards of public education in Canada, advanced study and research by women, and sound concept of lifelong learning.
  2. Advocate for the advancement of the status of women, human rights and the common good locally, nationally and internationally.
  3. Promote cooperation, networking, support and understanding among women.
  4. Encourage and enable women to apply their knowledge and skills in leadership and decision‐making in all aspects of the political, social, cultural, educational and scientific fields.

CFUW/FCFDU is committed to:

  • Improving the status of women and girls
  • Promoting quality public education
  • Advancing the status of women, human rights, justice and peace

National Activities

  • Informs the Government of Canada about CFUW/FCFDU policies on education, the status of women, human rights, justice, social and environmental issues
  • Provides members with opportunities to network at local, regional, provincial, national and international meetings
  • Supports the CFUW/FCFDU Charitable Trust which
  • Receives individual and Club donations
  • Administers funds for:
    • Graduate Awards and Fellowships
    • The Creative Music Award through the Banff School of the Performing Arts in Alberta

Local Clubs of CFUW/FCFDU:

  • Provide opportunities for fellowship and support
  • Hold meetings on educational, cultural and social issues with an emphasis on the status of women and girls
  • Have special interest and study groups on a wide range of topics
  • Research and present resolutions for consideration at the CFUW/FCFDU Annual General Meeting
  • Ensure that local MPs, MNAs; MLAs; MPPs are aware of CFUW/FCFDU policies
  • Advocate for CFUW policies at the local level


Graduate Women International is an international network linking women graduates from all cultures, all fields of study, all professions and all generations.

GWI has national affiliates in 62 countries, including CFUW, and individual members in more than 40 others.

It was founded in 1919 after World War I by women graduates who believed in the importance of working together for peace, international understanding and friendship.


Today their mission is to:

  • promote lifelong education for women and girls; promote international cooperation, friendship, peace and respect for human rights for all, irrespective of their gender, age, race, nationality, religion, political opinion, gender and sexual orientation or other status; advocate for the advancement of the status of women and girls; and
  • encourage and enable women and girls to apply their knowledge and skills in leadership and decision-making in all forms of public and private life.

They provide a global voice for women graduates, working for the adoption and implementation of international agreements that will protect and benefit all women and girls.

Members volunteer their expertise in a wide-range of community projects, such as:

  • literacy and vocational training programmes;
  • free medical and legal clinics;
  • programmes to prevent domestic violence; and
  • campaigns to increase women’s awareness of their rights and to promote women’s participation in the political process.

GWI also offers numerous conferences, seminars and workshops that provide opportunities to discuss global issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Visit GWI's website for more information.


MARCH 2018

On International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, Feb. 6th, GWI is working towards the elimination of this harmful practice. This UN-sponsored awareness day was introduced in 2003.


  • requested that figures for total donations to scholarships, Charitable Trust and other donations made between Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2017 be forwarded to CFUW by May 15.
  • The 100th Anniversary Scholarship Project reports that an additional $155,000 will be given out in 2019 in additional awards. The Charitable Trust received donations totally $65,977 from 42 clubs, 4 Councils and numerous individuals for the additional awards.
  • CFUW’s selection of MATCH as its charity, as part of International Women’s Day celebrations has suggested a fundraising idea, The Refugee Bag Auction in which unique bags made of refugee tents be auctioned at club functions. A generous donor has offered to match all funds raised.
  • President Grace Hollett has written to Minister Philpott regarding concerns over the slow pro-gress to access safe drinking water and sanitation in Indigenous communities.
  • The Articles and Bylaws Committee received and have vetted 11 Board proposals to amend the bylaws. The next step is to distribute them to clubs that will study them and submit any Amend-ments to the Amendment by May 1. The committee will study the A to A and have final Amend-ment back to clubs prior to the CFUW AGM in June.
  • Two financial motions will be voted during the 2018 AGM to be held electronically in June:
    • CFUW Dues Increase Motion, from the Finance Committee to the Board, for a per capita increase of $11.00 (GWI fee increases are included in this figure). Clubs are to study the informa-tion prepared by the CFUW Finance Committee.
    • CFUW Winnipeg Motion, that is promoting differing CFUW dues for members who wish or do not wish to pay GWI dues. Our club has prepared background information for study and consid-eration.

Feb. 28 – Board/ RD nominations
April 15 – Response amendments to the Resolved clauses
May 1 – Submission of Articles and Bylaws Amendments to the Amendments

February 2018

GWI-CFUW President Grace Hollett

Subsequent to the resignation of Karen Dunnett from the position of National President, the CFUW Board has elected Grace Hollett as the new National President. The election will be ratified at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in June, 2017.

Grace has been on the CFUW national Board of Directors since 2014 in the capacity of Vice President, Atlantic Canada. Previously she chaired the Regional Director group, and co-chaired the committee that produced the New Beginnings survey of CFUW. She chaired the Editorial Committee for the Past Presidents’ Biographies produced by the History Committee with various writers. She has served on the national Advocacy, Education, Governance, International Relations, Membership, History, and the Human Resources Committees as well as the Advisory Committee on the CFUW History Project. She has served in many capacities at the local level in her home Club of CFUW St. John’s as president, chair of the publicity and newsletter committee and a member of most committees and interest groups including Issues and Resolutions, the “Great Big Book Sale” to fund scholarships and for recreation the Club’s Tap Dancing group. She has been president of the Atlantic Regional Council since 2014.
Educated at Flat Island and St. John’s, NL, and with degrees in mathematics, history and educational administration, Grace worked as a teacher in the school system and at Memorial University and was an eight-year member of the elected executive of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association, working particularly on political action, gender equity and group insurance and as a member of the provincial Labour Relations Board. She later spent two years on the professional staff in Membership Services working with the local teacher branches. Grace has done volunteer work with a variety of organizations including the UCW and the Coalition against Violence (CAVAE). Grace and her husband Harold live at Mt. Pearl, NL and have five adult children and a lively family of grandchildren.
CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every province across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace. It holds special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) and belongs to the Education Committee of the Canadian Sub-Commission to UNESCO. CFUW contributes approximately $1 million annually to scholarships for women.

For more information, contact Robin Jackson at



IFUW Becomes GWI
by  Muriel Smith


JUNE, 2016
Article No. 8  -  Final Thoughts on GWI   

This will be my last commentary on GWI and the question of whether CFUW retain or sever its relationship. Our Winnipeg Club has had its AGM discussion on the matter and voted overwhelmingly to sever the tie. Our president received that advice from Winnipeg members by secret ballot as to how she should vote at the CFUW AGM in St. Catharines in late June. What happens in St. Catharines will then determine how our CFUW delegation will vote on future affiliation, proposed constitutional changes and budget for the next Triennium at the GWI AGM in Cape Town, South Africa in late August.

My feeling at this point is that the unwillingness to take on an additional financial burden will carry the day, both in Canada and South Africa. At both events, there will be many eloquent pleas made for the benefits of being part of an international organization, one that CFUW helped found in order to promote, with worldwide political and economic decision-makers, the importance of educating girls and women. We too often forget the role education has played in enriching our own lives, and that far too many of the world’s girls and women have not yet had that door to equality and opportunity opened for them.

While my personal preference is that CFUW remain affiliated with GWI, I have spent some time reflecting on why women’s groups, here and elsewhere, find that regardless of the flood of good will and hard work, we have not been able collectively to marshal the resources, human and capital, to support and sustain our local, national and international women’s organizations.

I have been considering both the history and the current realities of women’s lives. While there are a few exceptions, women as a group have had  long and arduous struggles both to support themselves and their families economically and to project their voices into public decision-making arenas to benefit all women. Add to that, while struggling for their own and their sisters’ equality, they have been carrying by far the greater burdens of care giving and community building. Women university graduates on average have fared much better but too many of us still believe we cannot readily absorb significant fee increases.        

Even in Canada where many women have been in the workforce and have built up substantial pensions, that is not true for all, even in Clubs where fees are substantially lower than our Winnipeg Club which has a costly historic house to maintain. These three factors – women only recently and not in all countries entering the political and economic mainstream; our paid employment, if any, predominantly in lower paid service sectors; and our greater share of responsibility for care giving and community building – combine to reduce the ability of many of us to absorb cost increases.   

Unless those of us who argue for keeping our international connection with GWI are able to persuade members of the need for and value of belonging to this organization we helped found and have helped to guide, one with a purposeful commitment to promote education for girls and women worldwide as the best means to achieve equality and peace, I fear the “bottom-line”, however important it is, will always become the decisive factor. 


GWI - CFUW President Grace Hollett suggested that clubs ask members who may wish to voluntarily pay the GWI increase, not yet been approved at a CFUW AGM,
to submit the increased fee amount of $8.40 CD to the club. UWC President Linda Asper responded that our club will no longer be paying GWI dues. (Any voluntary fee submissions are to be sent directly to CFUW).

Prairie meetings led by VP Prairies, Bilkies McKen have been teleconferencing about a Prairie project clubs from across three provinces can participate in – one that will bring attention to a critical issue and increased profile to University Women’s Clubs. Pat Elliott, our regional VP is working on the committee.

CFUW - announced that 2018’s Global Giving Choice is MATCH, when celebrating International Women’s Day in March, the very same organization last year’s Women’s Day luncheon supported at our club.

The CFUW Advocacy Committee is striking an Ad Hoc committee to draft Terms of Reference for a proposed Policy Book Review Committee. If interested in serving, contact

A webinar on 150 Acts of Reconciliation will be available through CFUW on Feb. 1 at 3:00 pm CST. If members wish to participate, contact Material gathered from CFUW’s survey of rural women will be used for discussion at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in March, the theme of which is Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and Empowerment for rural women and girls.


  1. CFUW submitted a joint letter in anticipation of the June G7 summit in Ottawa urging a specific focus on three issues currently evading consensus among G7 countries:
    • Supporting refugees, migrants and displaced persons
    • Tackling climate change and its impact on poor and marginalized countries
    • Ensuring the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people
  2. Template letters are available online for members wishing to send thoughts to the Senate that is currently reviewing Bill S-206 to repeal section #3 of the Criminal Code, that enables parents and teachers to use ‘reasonable force’ to discipline a child.

Important Dates:
Jan 31 – Club membership numbers to be submitted to CFUW
Feb. 14 – Deadline for proposed amendments to CFUW Articles and Bylaws
Feb. 28 – Deadline for nominations for CFUW Board and Regional Director positions.


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