A professional association for funeral directors and embalmers in Nova Scotia was established as the Nova Scotia Embalmers and Funeral Directors Association in 1938. In the late, 1990s the name was changed to the Funeral Service Association of Nova Scotia. Although, women now comprise more that 50% of funeral service personnel, in the history of the Association, only three female directors have served as Association presidents, Norma Boudreau, Lisa C. Smith and Erin Jennings.
It is the aim of the Women in Funeral Services Committee with the support of the Board of Directors to promote association membership and leadership, to provide educational and networking opportunities for women in funeral services, to identify issues that may be unique to women in the profession and to encourage advocacy.
During the first meeting of the committee in September, topics for educational sessions such as Occupational Health and Safety concerns for women (for example formaldehyde exposure and pregnancy) and member health and wellness were some of the topics identified.
The first Women in Funeral Services networking event was held on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at the Kingstec Campus in Kentville, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The Challenge of International Women's Day 2014 - Ideas + Influence Inspire Change. Attendees represented a cross section of women in funeral services including crematoria operators, monuments sales, Purple Shield agents, transfer companies, funeral homes and funeral service educators from Halifax Regional Municipality, Annapolis, Kings and Hants counties.
Future events will be scheduled in Central Nova Scotia, HRM and Cape Breton.
The Women in Funeral Service, ad hoc committee was appointed in June 2014 to connect with Women in Funeral Services and to offer professional development sessions specific to women while working closely with both the Member Services and Professional Development Committees.
I would like to thank my co-chair, Erin Jennings and committee members, Glenda Cole and Patrick Curry for their ideas, interest and service to the committee and its initiatives.
Lisa C. Smith