Unhistoric Acts - Pownal Street Press

Unhistoric Acts

Inside the Women’s Movement on Prince Edward Island

By Dianne Porter in Women's Studies

The title, Unhistoric Acts, is inspired by the work of unheralded women in the 18th-century novel Middlemarch by George Elliot. Unhistoric Acts is a first hand account by long time advocate for the women’s movement Dianne Porter.

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The title, Unhistoric Acts, is inspired by the work of unheralded women in the 18th-century novel Middlemarch by George Elliot. Unhistoric Acts is a first hand account by long time advocate for the women’s movement Dianne Porter. Women’s equality in Prince Edward Island took time and tireless effort by numerous unsung heroes. Working together as a force for change, Porter honours the ‘unsung heroes’ of the movement with profiles of front-liners in the fields of early childhood education, politics and social services, which collectively were able to transform the landscape.

This social history takes the reader on a journey of progression in politics and social reform. As an advocate for change and a political advisor in the 1980s, Porter brings us behind-the-scenes to the conversations that finally put women’s equality on Prince Edward Island on the table — women in the workforce, child care, and setting up basic minimum standards.

This book will serve as an important historical document and primary source in the field of women’s studies.

Cover art by Ontario artist Beverley Hawksley.

Unhistoric Acts takes us through Diane’s lived experiences from advocacy, involvement in government policy making to network building, introducing the reader to the unsung heroes of Prince Edward Island who created a tapestry of caring.”

Karen Chandler, Leading for Change: Leadership and Administration of Early Childhood Programs in Canada, 7th Edition

“In Unhistoric Acts, Dianne Porter, leader in the Island women’s movement, has accomplished no small task — a history of the women’s movement in the province since the 1970s. Through the frank chronicling of her own journey, Dianne has woven into her story many of the women she worked with to bring about societal change. By leading causes such as the call for better child care, early childhood learning, political accessibility, equal wages, and confronting difficult subjects such as domestic violence, rape, and women’s reproductive rights, all Islanders have benefited from a more caring, just, and stronger Island society where many voices are heard. While there is still much ground to cover, I am hopeful that in reading Unhistoric Acts, many younger Island women will continue to make the Island women’s movement part of their story in building a better Island and a better world.”

Catherine Callbeck, 28th premier of Prince Edward Island from 1993 to 1996

“Unhistoric Acts documents Dianne Porter’s remarkable life – a life characterized by commitment, determination, and courage. Whether behind the scenes or front and centre, Dianne has always found ways to collaborate with disparate groups and individuals on a common purpose – to improve the lives of Island women and their families. In Unhistoric Acts, Dianne turns the spotlight on women who have played a pivotal role in advancing gender equality in Prince Edward Island.

 Dr. Katherine Arnup PhD. Author of I don’t have time for this!’ A Compassionate Guide to Caring for your Parents and Yourself

“Dianne’s focus on sharing her own experience in the feminist movement, while amplifying the voices of the others, is inspiring. Unhistoric Acts is an important account of how Island life has been transformed by the people, the policy work, and the advocacy that led to where we are today.”

 Sara Roach Lewis, Author of She Rules: What You Didn’t Know is Holding You Back in Business

“Dianne Porter provides a rare glimpse into the history of the women’s movement in PEI from a personal perspective of one who was immersed in advocating for issues of social justice, equity, and family supports. Her own experiences are woven through the reflections of her colleagues and friends who – as “unsung heroes” – have influenced life as we know it in PEI in the 21st century.”

Kathleen Flanagan, PhD Candidate & Lifelong Childhood Education Specialist

“Dianne Porter’s Unhistoric Acts is an essential addition to the literature on women’s history and the feminist movement. By shedding light on the struggles and accomplishments of the P.E.I. women’s movement with meticulous attention to detail and historical accuracy, Porter challenges historical oversights and inspires readers to join the ongoing struggle for equality.”

Sydney Walsh, Atlantic Books Today





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