Saturday, February 14 was a day of celebration for REAL Women of Canada, who were thrilled at the attendance of close to 300 supporters, at their Annual Convention. This was an all-day event held at Toronto’s Royal York Hotel.

REAL women sprang up from a small group of women who were very concerned about the breakdown of the family. It is a voluntary organization, supported through membership fees ($10 annually), and donations.

Special Guest Speaker the Hourable Jim Jepson (MP London East), urged REAL Women to “Take the High Road,” and not get caught-up in dissension among women’s groups. “Concentrate on what you want to do,” he said. He advocated writing to MPs expressing your views, because “to be an effective Parliamentarian it is important to know what the people are thinking”

He spoke about the shift in today’s values, saying that we live in a “do you wont thing” society where “rights” are emphasized not “responsibility,” and humanism reigns.

The question of funding?

Mr. Jepson maintains that he is a strong proponent for the funding of REAL Women, and indicated that he is confident David Crombie would treat this issue fairly. At the same time, he added, “I’m not for funding of any of these advocacy groups, but if one gets it, all should get it. The government should see all views.”

Grace Petrasek, in her final address as President of REAL Women, briefed the audience on some of the most commonly asked questions of REAL Women. In particular, “Why don’t REAL Women and NAC (National Action Committee on the Status of Women), get together?”  It seems that many people are curious to know why we need yet another women’s group, when we already have one government-funded group.

Her response – “for several reasons.”  She said that REAL Women and NAC do not embrace the same philosophy. REAL Women is based on Judeo-Christian precepts, and disdain prostitution; easy divorce; homosexual lesbian lifestyles; abortion, and pornography – in contrast to NAC.

REAL Women opposes universal day care, citing that day care should be available by “need” not “want.”  However, in a situation where a woman must work, they believe in the very best day care.

In my estimation, the one striking difference between REAL Women and NAC, is their focus. As quoted by Mrs. Petrasek, “REAL Women are pro-life, pro-family, and focus on women as an interdependent person within the family unit, whereas NAC focuses on the woman along.”

Gwen Landolt, legal counsel for REAL Women, would like to see more options, with regard to the tax system. She favors a “Homemakers Tax Credit,” and the choice of filing single or joint returns, because, she says, “the single-income families are the ones who suffer,” under the current system. In her closing remarks, she added, “REAL Women isn’t just talk, we’re here to change Society.”

New Faces

After four active years as President of REAL Women, Grace Petrasek will relinquish her office to Lynne Scime, and her new executive. Joining Mrs. Scime will be Shirley Pennell, Secretary; Connie McKenna, Treasurer; and Susan Rodgerson, Public Relations.

In the words of the new President, the future of REAL Women depends on “Praying as though everything depended on God, and working as though everything depended on us.