History of the Center

Centro Donne was officially created and incorporated in 1978 and opened its doors in a premises located on Boulevard St. Michel. It is primarily aimed at women from the Italian community of Montreal.

The journey was undertaken by a group of young women from Collettivo, who themselves came from the Italo Quebecoise Association of Culture founded in the 1970’s.  This association was founded by young  intellectuals, students and people committed to the discussion and promotion of progressive ideas and to give a voice to the community.

It is in this spirit of social commitment that these young women looked at the condition of women  in general, but especially women in the Italian community rooted in traditions and conservative values.

Let us recall that during this period, a strong current of social struggles prevailed at the local, national and international levels.  These movements of struggles greatly influenced the Centro at it’s foundation.  By questioning stereotyped social roles, the struggles against sexism, against poverty, against wage equity, to name a few, made these years spirited and bustling.

What was most important to these young activists was to have a place where Italian speaking women, especially the first generation of unilingual immigrant workers, underpaid mothers and isolated women could have a voice and be heard; a place where they could talk, discuss and reflect on issues that were close to their hearts.  They needed a place that could offer them services and support them in their difficulties; a place where they can get information on how they can break the feeling of isolation and a place that could lead them towards the process of reaching the emotional, social and economic autonomy. They needed a space to freely share their thoughts and concerns among each other.

Subsequently, the Women’s Association of St. Michel brought women of a certain age together, who met in a regular and informal way in order to break their isolation, to join the group of young activists.

A request for subsidy was written to the Ministry of Immigration and Centraide to have a place to meet and fulfill their projects.

******The Center formed its first Board of Directors on March 28, 1978******

The Center’s main activities at the end of the 1970’s were above all to inform women through  Conferences which dealt with health, personal growth, self-esteem and many other subjects of Importance for Italian speaking women.

The first CA: Giuseppina Barbusci, Tiziana Carafa, Roberta Giorgetti, Isa Iasenza, Margherita Morsella, Marie Antoinette Simoncini, Assunta Sauro