Saskatchewan Women in Education: 1980s

  • In 1980, the Department of Education, the Saskatchewan School Trustees Association and the STF cosponsored a provincial women’s conference aimed at dealing with issues related to women or sexism in education.
  • On August 1980, a brief sent to the STF Executive regarding increasing the participation of women led to an Executive decision to move toward a proportionate balance of men and women in naming people to advisory committees, delegations and other areas where people are named or appointed.
  • In 1980, Rita Bouvier, whose teaching career began in 1968, became coordinator and then director of SUNTEP, the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program. In this role she supervised a teacher training and support program for Métis and non-status students and contributed to the development of cross-cultural teaching methods at Saskatchewan universities. From 1980 to 2007, Rita worked as STF Executive Assistant (a position now called Senior Administrative Staff) serving the northwest region of the province.

Council 1980. Rita Bouvier, right, tells councillors that school programs must be tailored to suit the needs of Indigenous children.


Susan Bates captures the attention of Grade 1 students as she reads to them during a Feb. 15, 1990 visit to St. Michael School in Saskatoon. The Federation President was at St. Michael to participate in the Home and School Association’s Teacher Appreciation Week activities.

Statistical data from 1987-88 states that:

  • Provincially, women make up 53.84 percent of teaching force; men 46.16 percent.
  • The average salary of male teachers is $37,755 compared to $33,356 for female teachers, a difference of $4,399 or 11.7 percent 
  • 15 percent of principals are women (135 out of 899)
  • 2.3 percent directors are women (2 out of 84)
  • 2.7 percent of superintendents are women (1 out of 37)
  • 50 percent of STF Advisory Committee Members are women
  • In 1985 Heather-jane Robertson became Director of Professional Development Services for the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. In this role she monitored education trends and studied the links between the economy, governance, social policies, and the goals of education.
  • In 1986, Susan M. Bates was elected STF’s Vice-President and in 1988 she became STF’s third female President.
  • In 1989, Caroline Robins was presented with the Persons Award to recognize her contribution in advancing the status of women in Canadian society.