The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan

 

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Saskatchewan Women’s Agricultural Network (SWAN)

SWAN was established in 1985 as an educational support group for farm women, and became part of the Canadian Farm Women’s Network with opportunities to make contacts through national and international meetings and conferences. It soon assumed an advocacy role, seeking to blend agricultural concerns with women’s issues and perspectives.

SWAN organized annual conferences and regional workshops to develop farm women’s knowledge, skills, and assertiveness. It participated in research projects that examined the multiple roles and contributions of women on the farm, as well as their health and well-being. A critical SWAN project (1999) documented Agriculture Canada’s erosion of support for farm women.

For over a decade SWAN had contacts with provincial governments, and after 1992, it was invited to participate in several provincial lobby treks to Ottawa and to present at House of Commons standing committee hearings. Also, the media, farm groups, and women’s organizations asked SWAN to serve as the voice of farm women. Directors served on advisory boards, including the Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence, Farm Support Review Committee, Farm Stress Line Advisory Committee, and the Centre for Agricultural Medicine. In 1995, on its tenth anniversary, SWAN’s request for designation of Saskatchewan Farm Women’s Week was granted by the provincial Department of Agriculture. In 1999, SWAN spearheaded a Gold Ribbon Campaign to support struggling farm families.

In 2000, the original group of farm feminists was replaced by others who, due to family obligations and off-farm employment, were unable to sustain the meeting and lobby work. SWAN’s voice is now silent.

Noreen Johns

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provided by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan.
University of Regina Government of Canada Government of Saskatchewan Canadian Plains Research Center
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Diversification de l'économie de l'Ouest Canada et le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan.