Nfld. & Labrador

Jenny Wright leaves women's centre, pledges to keep working for gender equality

The former executive director says she's proud of her five years with the St. John's Status of Women Council and says she'll continue to be a voice for women.

Former women's council director says recovery from car accident gave her time to focus on career plans

Jenny Wright, former director of the province's Status of Women Council, says she'll continue to be a voice for gender equality through teaching and writing. (CBC)

Jenny Wright has resigned as executive director of the St. John's Status of Women Council, but she says she'll still be a voice for women.

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm still going to be a loud and vocal advocate for gender equality, I just think I'm going to do it through writing and teaching," Wright told The St. John's Morning Show on Friday.

Wright said her resignation is partly due to personal reflecting she did while recovering from a serious car accident last year.

I'm really proud of the five years that I put in and all that we accomplished.- Jenny Wright

"It was a really horrible accident, and one that I'm still recovering from in some ways, but it was certainly something that, you know, over the last year has really given me and my family pause to think about what I want to do with the next part of my career," she said.

"I've really been enjoying teaching. I've been enjoying writing — I've wanted to write a book, a collection of feminist essays, for some time, and I think this is the time."

Still, she says resigning was difficult.

"It was a hard decision, but I'm really proud of the organization. I'm really proud of the five years that I put in and all that we accomplished," she said.

"I'm really proud of all the staff that works there, but I think for me, post-accident and kind of looking forward, you kind of really want to focus on what you want to do with your career, and I think it's time for me to step aside and let some new, strong young feminist come up behind me."

Wright says her lengthy recovery from a serious car crash in 2018 provided her with time to think about what she wants to do with the next phase of her career. (Submitted by Jenny Wright)

Something not among her plans right now: politics.

"I absolutely considered it. I considered it at length," said Wright, who ran for Parliament in the 2015 election.

She said she thought about putting her name forward to run provincially this year in her home district of Ferryland.

"But after thinking it all through, and talking to my family, I just decided it wasn't the right time. I didn't want to jump into something that would be that challenging right when I'm trying to transition into something gentler. It didn't make sense for me right now."

The toughest parts of the job, she said, were constantly having to fight for funding, as well as pushback to the council's work.

"At times you have real thick skin and it's fine. Other times it can really affect you, where you're out there fighting for the fact that women can live in safety and without violence, and you're subjected to constant backlash," she said.

"And it's often very challenging when it comes from, you know, people within your community. That, at times, I found frustrating."

Thanks from women's council

In a statement Thursday, the women's council board thanked her for her five years as executive director.

"She has been instrumental in representing the interests of women in St. John's and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador," said Mary Shortall, board chair, in the release.

"She was a powerful voice for so many issues like violence against women and girls; the rights of sex workers, equal pay for women and so much more. The board wishes her well in the future."

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