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A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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Canadian Illustrated News, Aug.7, 1880
.Time Travel
.This Month in
Herstory
This Month in Canadian Herstory: May
Asian Heritage Month
  • May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, a great time to celebrate the achievements of notable Canadian women of Asian descent. A few examples:


    Bageshree Vaze
    Bageshree Vaze
    Mrs. Kwong Lee. First Chinese woman to settle in Canada.*

    Asayo Murakami. A picture bride who arrived in Vancouver in 1923.*

    Jean Lumb. Lobbied for Chinese Canadians and changed immigration laws.*

    Hide Hyodo Shimizu. An important leader in the Japanese Canadian community.*

    Adrienne Clarkson. In 2009 became the first Canadian governor-general of Chinese heritage, and the second woman to hold the post.



    Dr. Irene Ayako Uchida. One of the first Canadian scientists to specialize in cytogenentics, she earned international recognition for her studies of the effect of radiation on human chromosomes.

    Nina Grewal. First South Asian woman elected to the House of Commons, in 2004. Currently the MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells (B.C.).

    Deepta Mehta. Talented filmmaker whose film Water received an Oscar nomination.

    Shushma Datt. A pioneer in the Canadian broadcasting industry, and the first Indo Canadian in the field. Hosts Women in Focus, profiling women in the South Asian community, on OMNI BC.

    Bageshree Vaze. Successful Indo Canadian musician, dancer, and choregrapher.

    Elaine Chan. Founded the Chinese Academy in Calgary to help Alberta's Chinese youth.

    Vivienne Poy. First Canadian senator of Asian ancestry.

    Belle Puri. Notable Indo Canadian television journalist.

    Leena Manro. Actress and writer with Bollywood Shenanigans, lawyer.

    Leena Manro
    Leena Manro
    Mrs. Kwong Lee. First Chinese woman to settle in Canada.*

    Dr. Victoria Cheung. First female Chinese Canadian doctor.**

    Satinder Hawkins. Nurse, lawyer and politician. First Indo Canadian woman to hold a cabinet post in a provincial government.**

    Muriel Kitagawa. Journalist, activist who protested against internment of Japanese Canadians.**

    Yoko Oya. First Japanese woman to settle in Canada.**



    Sandra Oh. An award-winning Canadian actress (Dr. Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy) of Korean descent.

    * This woman is featured in the book 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.

    ** This woman is featured in the book 100 More Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.

  • May 2, 2011
    Green Party leader Elizabeth May made history in Canada's general election on May 2, 2011, becoming the first member of her party to be elected to the House of Commons.

    Elizabeth May
    Elizabeth May;
    (Green Party of Canada)


    Watch the Elizabeth May Song on YouTube.

  • May 3, 1922
    Women in Prince Edward Island won the right to vote in provincial elections and run for office.

  • May 19, 1918
    Katherine Maud MacDonald became the first Canadian nursing sister to die in action. She was serving in Brittany when the area was bombed by German aircraft.

  • May 25, 1875
    Grace Annie Lockhart graduated from Mount Allison University, becoming the first woman in the British Empire to earn a university degree. Grace Annie Lockhart;Mt. Allison University 000 063
    Gracie Annie Lockhart;
    (Mt. Allison University 000 063)


  • May 28, 1934
    The Dionne Quintuplets were born in Callandar, Ontario. Annette, Emilie, Yvonne, Cecile and Marie were identical, and the sisters became world-famous as the first quints to survive more than a few days.

    Dionne Quints
    Ad for a film called The Country Doctor (1936) about the doctor who delivered the quints and was later charged with exploiting them.

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