Not Quite the Death of Organized Feminism in Canada: Understanding the Demise of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women

Cheryl N. Collier


In the mid-1980s the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) was considered the main “face” of the Canadian women’s movement and a major player in Canadian politics. However, by the end of the decade, NAC began losing crucial federal funding and suffered internal divisions amongst member groups. By the 2000s, NAC slowly became a less relevant feminist political advocate and has since completely disappeared from Canadian politics. This paper explains the decline and disappearance of NAC from the 1980s to the present day to help understand the state of the national-level women’s movement in Canada. Drawing largely on the political opportunity structure approach and a neo-institutional focus on changes in federalism and the rise of neoliberal ideas in Canada, the paper argues with NAC gone, opportunities for the emergence of a new national voice for Canadian women are limited at best. Even though this does not in and of itself signify an end to organized feminism in the country, it does not bode well for the health of the national-level women’s movement.


National Action Committee on the Status of Women; Federalism; Social Movement Advocacy; Neoliberalism

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125