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The National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) was founded in 1971 to lobby for the implementation of the recommendations made in the Royal Commission on the Status of Women’s 1970 report. Its initial name was “The National Ad Hoc Action Committee on the Status of Women.”
NAC was the successor of the Committee for the Equality of Women in Canada, a lobby group founded in 1966 that was responsible for the creation of the Royal Commission. Initially, NAC united 22 feminist groups; later, its membership swelled to 700 groups. The NAC’s mandate grew too to address issues such as poverty, racism, violence against women, and more. The NAC also participated in conferences and actions to promote international solidarity between women and to advocate for women’s equality rights globally. Throughout its history, the organization has tended to focus on concerns pertinent to white, middle-class, cisgender, and heterosexual women. These areas of focus have been challenged, particularly throughout the 1990s, by queer women and women of colour, especially in executive positions or as president.
NAC received much of its funding from the federal government. From the mid-1980s throughout the 1990s, the organization’s funding was significantly reduced. By 1998, the group largely ceased operations and began to reduce some of its regional activities. As of 2017, NAC still exists. It now raises its operating funds through membership fees, donations, project grants, and special events.
Priorities for the NAC are set at the organization’s annual general meeting. The NAC’s executive team is elected from the membership.
The organization’s presidents have included: Laura Sabia (1971-1974); Grace Hartman (1974-1975); Lorna Marsden (1975-1977); Kay Macpherson (1977-1979); Lynn McDonald (1979-1981); Jean Wood (1981-1982); Doris Anderson (1982-1984); Chaviva Hošek (1984-1986); Louise Dulude (1986-1988); Lynn Kaye (1988-1990); Judy Rebick (1990-1993); Sunera Thobani (1993-1996); Joan Grant-Cummings (1996-1999); Terri Brown (2000-2002); Sungee John (2003-2005); and Dolly Williams (2006-).
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Anderson, Doris. The Canadian Encyclopedia. “National Action Committee on the Status of Women.” Canadian Heritage Department, 2013. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/national-action-committee-on-the-status-of-women / (accessed February 11, 2017).
Molgat, Anne and Joan Grant Cummings. “Herstory.” National Action Committee on the Status of Women, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070820010546/http://www.nac-cca.ca/about/his_e.htm (accessed February 11, 2017).