Women’s advocate Jenny Wright has resigned as executive director of the St. John’s Status of Women Council/Women’s Centre (SJSWC/WC).
The announcement was made early Thursday evening.
There was initial speculation Wright might run for political office. She was mum on details, but confirmed she would not run in either the provincial or federal election.
“I thought very seriously about running in the Ferryland district for this provincial election, but I’ve decided that it’s just really not a good time,” she told The Telegram.
The SJSWC/WC announcement indicated Wright resigned “to move on to other opportunities.”
When The Telegram spoke with Wright on the phone Thursday evening, she indicated she would have more to say on Friday, but at press time she would simply confirm that the “other opportunities” did not involve running in an election.
“I thought very seriously about running in the Ferryland district for this provincial election, but I’ve decided that it’s just really not a good time." — Jenny Wright
Outside of her work as executive director, Wright is also an adviser with Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability and a political science instructor at Memorial University.
Meanwhile, SJSWC/WC board chair Mary Shortall commended Wright for her work over the past five years as executive director.
“With all the issues that we encountered, we could always depend on Jenny to bring the voice of women to the media and to government, and she’s noted for being a strong advocate on women’s issues and that’s been really important to the Women’s Centre,” Shortall said.
The board received Wright’s resignation letter on Thursday and it wasn’t expected, Shortall said.
“Our understanding is that she’s gone on to pursue some other things in her life and we accept that, and we thank her for the amazing job that she’s done.”
Shortall said Wright was a powerful voice as executive director on many issues, such as violence against women and girls, the rights of sex workers and equal pay for women.
The board will meet next week for its regular monthly meeting, and Shortall said she expects the process of finding a new executive director will be on the agenda.
SJSWC/WC is a feminist organization that was formed in 1972. It operates the Women’s Centre, Marguerite’s Place Supportive Housing Program and Safe Harbour Outreach Project.
Meanwhile, Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) co-chairs Paula Sheppard Thibeau and Sandra McKellar issued a statement thanking Wright for her “tireless hard work and advocacy.”
They stated Wright was key in organizing the first leaders’ debate on women’s issues during the 2015 provincial election and brought the Femfest conference to St. John’s.
“Jenny has been a strong voice for the women’s movement and has helped lead the change to make our province a better place for women. She fought hard for sustainable funding for all women’s groups and all Status of Women Councils now have multi-year funding.”