CNWE Constitution

1.  NAME

The name of the organization shall be “Catholic Network for Women’s Equality  (CNWE)”.


To enable women to name their giftedness and from that awareness to effect structural change for justice and equality in the Catholic church and in the world, that reflects the mutuality and co-responsibility of women and men.

 3. AIMS

  • To identify, understand, communicate and celebrate the history, talents, skills and       contributions of women.
    • To raise consciousness about the nature and consequences of patriarchy in the Catholic church and in the world.
    • To foster solidarity among women, especially those who are experiencing alienation within the Catholic church.
    • To communicate with women in other religious traditions and with secular women’s groups in order to promote greater awareness of issues concerning women.
    • To encourage the people of God to retrieve and name the feminine aspects of God.
  • To work towards the full inclusion of women in all aspects of the daily life and structure of the Catholic church: prayer, language, images, public worship, and all ministries, including ordained ministries.


To operate from a principle of inclusiveness and to strive toward consensus building.



1. Membership

a)    Membership is open to all women and men concerned about women in today’s Catholic church and world and supportive of the aims and philosophy of CNWE.

b)   Once admitted, a member shall have all the rights and privileges of any other member provided the annual fee has been paid.

2. Membership Fees

a)    Each member shall pay an annual membership fee to retain membership in CNWE.

b)    An organization may join CNWE as a single member and will be entitled to a single vote.

c)    Notification of a proposed change of fees shall be mailed by the National Work Group to the membership at least 30 days prior to the Annual General Meeting.

d)    Before any changes in the fee structure become effective, members must approve the amount of the fees at the Annual General Meeting, by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.

e)    Membership fees may be waived or adjusted in special circumstances.

f)     Persons who become new members of CNWE between January 1st and the date of the Annual General Meeting of the same year will be considered paid in full until the renewal period of the year following.

g)    CNWE’S membership year will be from June 1 to May 31. Unless renewed, a CNWE membership expires four (4) months after the Annual General Meeting.

h)   Thirty percent of individual membership fees shall be forwarded to recognized local groups on a per capita basis as determined by the Membership Coordinator.

3. Rights of Members

a)    Every member has a right to receive an Annual Report of the National Work Group and periodic communication.

b)    Every member has the right to receive written notice of the Annual General Meeting.

c)    All members have the right to discuss and vote at the Annual General Meeting.

d)    Following any revisions of the Constitution at the Annual General Meeting, a copy of the revised constitution will be posted on the website and made available to members on request.


1. Membership

a)    Any member in good standing may serve on the National Work Group.

b)    The National Work Group shall consist of six members representing, where possible, the various regions of Canada.

c)    Three NWG members shall constitute a quorum.

2. Election of the National Work Group

a)    Election of the National Work Group shall take place at the Annual General Meeting. Members are elected for a two-year term. They may be re-elected for a second but not a third consecutive term.

b)    When a member is elected to complete the term of another, at the end of that term of office the person may be elected for a second term.

c)     Nominations to the National Work Group are to be submitted by local groups or individuals prior to or at the time of elections.

3. Responsibilities of the National Work Group

a)    The National Work Group shall choose from among themselves a coordinator, treasurer and secretary.

b)    The coordinator is responsible for the co-ordination of the activities of the National Work Group.

c)    The treasurer shall be the custodian of CNWE’s funds. The treasurer shall prepare a budget for approval by the National Work Group, pay expenses incurred by the National Work Group in accordance with the budget, forward monies to local groups according to the By-laws, keep full and accurate records and present a financial statement to the membership at the Annual General Meeting.

d)    The secretary shall keep written records of minutes of all meetings of the National Work Group and the Annual General Meetings and prepare an annual report of the work of the National Work Group to be published.

e)    The responsibilities of the National Work Group shall be to:

  • Manage and administer the funds of CNWE.
  • Fill vacancies on the National Work Group for the remainder of a term of office and organize the nomination process for new members as needed.
  • Provide members with the National Work Group members’ mailing addresses and email addresses.
  • Assure that responsibilities accepted by local groups for publication of the CNWE newsletter (The Seed Keepers), membership and conference organization are fulfilled.
  • Communicate with CNWE membership with at least two newsletters/emails during the year to apprise members of NWG activity.
  • Promote membership in the organization nationally.
  • Call for resolutions or amendments to the constitution at least sixty days prior to the Annual General Meeting.
  • Establish the agenda for the Annual General Meeting.
  • Prepare an Annual Report for the Annual General Meeting and for distribution to the general membership and other appropriate individuals and groups.
  • Mail or email the minutes of the Annual General Meeting and the membership renewal notices to all members.
  • Initiate and approve grant applications.
  • Make public statements on behalf of CNWE.
  • Network with other organizations and support their initiatives when possible and relevant to CNWE’s work.
  • Communicate with the Canadian Conference of Bishops and with other organizations as issues arise.
  • Lobby on behalf of CNWE.
  • Appoint an NWG member to be coordinator of regional/local contacts.
  • Appoint a CNWE member who will continue the work of adding archival material to the CNWE collection at Library and Archives of Canada.

f)  The National Work Group may delegate tasks related to the above responsibilities to local groups, committees or individuals as required.

1. Four or more members may organize themselves into local or regional CNWE

        groups. The local or regional group determines its own geographical bounds.

2. Local/regional CNWE groups shall communicate their intent to function as a group to the National Work Group for recognition and funding.

3. Each local/regional CNWE group shall name a National Work Group contact    person. The duties of this contact person shall be to:

  • Relay communications from the National Work Group to local group members.
  • Communicate on behalf of the local/regional CNWE group to the National Work  Group.
  • Act as a contact person for new members.

4. Local/Regional groups may:

  • Provide a local forum for women and men to exchange views and support each other in the ongoing renewal of the Catholic church and in working for social justice for all women.
  • Sponsor workshops, lectures and small group discussions for study and
    reflection on our Christian history and traditions from a feminist perspective and request funding for such initiatives.
  • Assume responsibility at the National Conference for one of the following tasks: conference planning, membership, newsletter, and for other tasks as identified at the National Conference.
  • Dialogue with local bishops and clergy.
  • Make public statements on behalf of the local/regional CNWE group as the occasion demands.

5. A local/regional group shall hold one annual gathering and there present a financial report to its members. It will also submit a brief report of the year’s activities to the National Work Group 30 days prior to the Annual General Meeting.


  1. The national conference shall be held annually.
  2. The format of the national conference (i.e. videoconference or in person at one location) shall be decided upon at a previous conference.
  3. The planning of the National Conference shall be the responsibility of the local/regional group in whose region the conference is to be held in liaison with the National Work Group. Or in the event of a videoconference, it will be coordinated by the National Work Group, with local groups cooperating to set up central videoconference sites.
  4. The Conference shall include a significant educational and spiritual component related to the aims of the organization.
  5. In the absence of a national conference, the Annual General Meeting will be held no later than six months after the fiscal year end.
  6. A quorum of the Annual General Meeting shall be 8 (eight) percent of the paid members including a quorum of the National Work Group.
  7. The coordinator of the National Work Group shall chair the Annual General Meeting.
  8. Amendments to the by-laws shall be carried by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.


  1. Membership shall be the responsibility of a local group who will constitute the Membership Committee or of an individual Membership Coordinator who will take on this role. This responsibility will be determined or affirmed at the Annual General Meeting.
  2. Responsibilities for membership shall continue until a new group or individual assumes the task at a future Annual General Meeting.
  3. Responsibilities shall include:
  • Keeping mailbox key and emptying mailbox regularly.
  • Receiving fees and donations from new and renewing members, depositing membership funds, and advising the NWG Treasurer of amounts deposited.
  • Maintaining an up-to-date membership database and regional/local contact list and circulating the relevant part of the list to local groups and regional contacts as needed.
  • Emailing names with addresses to the NWG Secretary and new subscriptions to The Seed Keepers publishing team.
  • Communicating changes and corrections as needed.
  • Inviting local contacts and members from various regions to act as contact persons for new members and communicating with such contact persons.
  • Membership Coordinator will send letter of welcome to new members (updated if necessary by NWG).
  • Sending out renewal notices and reminders annually.
  • Acknowledging large donations.
  • Creating membership directory and emailing same to members, while respecting privacy requests.
  • Compiling lists for 30% reimbursement of fees received and emailing the lists to the NWG Treasurer.
  • Preparing Membership Report for AGM.


  1. The newsletter shall be the responsibility of a local/regional CNWE group as decided at the Annual General Meeting.
  2. Responsibility for the newsletter shall continue until a new group assumes the task at the following Annual General Meeting or the same group is affirmed for the upcoming year.
  3. The newsletter shall be published three times a year.
  4. The cost of publishing and distribution of the newsletter shall be maintained within the budget set by the National Work Group.


  1. The CNWE fiscal year shall be from April 1 to March 31.
  2. There shall be an internal financial audit periodically by two members appointed by   the Annual General Meeting.
  3. Two signatures shall be required for all CNWE cheques and documents.
  4. The National Work Group shall appoint the Treasurer and the Treasurer will appoint a local second signing officer.


  1. The Constitution and By-laws may be amended by a resolution presented at the Annual General Meeting and confirmed by at least two-thirds of the votes cast.
  2. Notice of proposed amendments must be mailed or emailed by the National Work Group to the membership at least thirty days prior to the Annual General Meeting.

(Revised – June 2013, AGM, Sudbury, ON)