A Guide to Women in Canadian History

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Hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, Reuters Photo.
.Latest News
News Archives 2010

Upcoming in 2010
  • Women in Wartime: Vivandieres and Land Girls
    November 11, 2010

    "Women in Wartime: Vivandieres and Land Girls" will take place on Remembrance Day (Thurs. 11th November), at 7:30 pm. It will be held at St James Community Square (3214 W 10th Ave at Trutch) in Vancouver.

    Through dance, music, and a literary/historical presentation, two significant groups of women will be highlighted: the vivandieres who brought supplies to 19th-century troops, and members of the Women's Land Army who provided agricultural labour during WW I and II while the men were away overseas. Please note that half of all proceeds will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

    Information provided by:
    Palma Bjarnason
    Silkmoth Dance
    Poster re Land Girls
  • Emily Carr Statue to be Unveiled in Women's History Month

    On October 13, 2010 a remarkable statue of the legendary artist Emily Carr will be unveiled in Victoria, British Columbia. With fundraising for this important project now complete, the famous Alberta sculptor Barbara Paterson is working on finishing touches to the statue. It will be shipped to Victoria this fall so it can be erected on the grounds of The Fairmount Empress Hotel, overlooking the harbour.

    Emily Carr grew up just a few blocks away, and the completion of this monument will be a fitting tribute to the talented painter and writer.

    Carr statue with dog
    (Photo courtesy Barbara Paterson)

  • 2009-2011 Sophia's International Women's Work Project

    Submitted by Leanne Hynd, Saskatoon.
    Be part of "Ourstory" in the Making! With Sophia’s International Women’s Work Projects (SIWWP) 2009-2011, we have a three-year vision for contributing to a well- connected dynamic and “Ourstory” in the making! Centenary of international Women’s Day, Tuesday, March 8, 2011. From NOW, we have just over two years together to bring this vision to fruition… Synchronizing Intention With World Peace SIWWP events and gatherings invite Women and Men... of all ages... and backgrounds...

    For more information:
    Sophia’s International Women’s Work Projects

  • The International Federation for Research in Women’s History/Fédération Internationale pour la Recherche en Histoire des Femmes

    The IFRWH Conference will be held in Amsterdam in August 2010, in conjunction with the 21st International Congress of Historical Sciences, 22-28 August 2010. The theme of this upcoming conference is Unequal Sisters: Women, Gender, and Global Inequalities in Historical Perspective.Conference organizers explain that "the aim of this theme is to focus on and further explore women’s history from a global and non-Western perspective".

    For more information:
    Francisca de Haan, Vice President, IFRWH, on behalf of the Program Committee, dehaanf@ceu.hu, or visit the website at IFRWH.

  • Lilith Fair Returns

    Sarah McLachlan album
    Canadian superstar Sarah McLachlan has launched another Lilith Fair. The all-female musical tour will visit more than 30 cities in the United States and Canada, beginning June 27, 2010 in Calgary. The last concert in North America will be in Dallas on August 16. Lillith Fair 2010 may also include some performances in the UK and Europe.

    Lilith Fairs celebrate women in music. The current tour follows up on the successful Lilith Fairs which ran from 1997-1999, raising more than $10 for women's charities. As noted on McLachlan's website, "Sarah was fed-up with the music industry’s refusal to promote tours with a heavily female lineup". Peformers in Lilith Fair 2010 will include Sheryl Crow, Mary J. Blige, Carly Simon, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Loretta Lynn, Indigo Girls, Cat Power, Emmylou Harris and Metric.

    For more information:
    Sarah McLachlan website
    Lilith Fair website

  • National Conference on Gender and Women's History

    The Canadian Committee on Women’s History/Comité canadien d'histoire des femmes will be holding its first national Gender and Women’s History conference. The gathering will be held in Vancouver, BC, August 12-15, 2010. The title of the conference is Edging Forward, Acting Up: Gender and Women’s History at the Cutting Edge of Scholarship and Social Action.

    Organizers describe the conference as follows: "This conference will bring together historians from a wide range of interests to explore the state of the art in women’s and gender history. In particular, we seek papers that position gender at the intersection of race, ethnicity, sexuality, age, class, disability, region, religion, community, citizenship and/or nationality. We also welcome discussions that situate the field at the leading edge of social activism."

  • Women's History Fair in Vancouver

    The Women's History Network of British Columbia (WHN/BC) presents a Women's History Fair featuring displays, exhibits, collections and programs from museums, archives, historical societies, cultural groups, schools and others. Over 20 displays on the history of the diverse women of British Columbia.

    Saturday, April 10, 2010, 1:00pm - 4:00pm. Central Library, 350 W. Georgia St. in the indoor Promenade.

    Admission is free.

    Co-sponsors: Vancouver Public Library (VPL) Special Collections Department, Herstory Cafe and the Vancouver Courier.

    More info: www.whnbc.ca , www.herstorycafe.ca or VPL Special Collections Department 604-331-3778.

Latest News

  • Press Release:
    Government of Canada Honours Five Women Receiving Governor General's Awards

    October 12, 2010

    Ottawa - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2010 Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case. These 31st annual awards recognize outstanding individuals who have helped to advance equality for women in Canada. The awards ceremony will take place at Rideau Hall on Persons Day, October 18, 2010.

    "These awards commemorate the five Alberta women who in 1929 achieved the right for women to serve in the Senate," said Minister Ambrose. "This year we recognize five more women whose hard work has truly benefitted women and girls. The legacy of the Famous Five endures in these award recipients. We are proud to recognize the ongoing contributions of Canadians to improving the lives of women and girls in communities across the country."

    The following five individuals are the 2010 recipients of the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case:

    Marie Fish
    Marie Louise Fish, of Elgin, Ontario is a trailblazer for women in non-traditional roles, particularly in the Canadian Forces. Her military career reflects many women's "firsts," including being the first woman to serve at sea as a naval officer - at a time when there were very few women in the Canadian Navy. Upon retiring, Ms. Fish entered the field of university and college security administration, developing policies and practices that enhance women's safety, and increasing the representation of women on security staff.

    Lucille Harper
    Lucille Harper, of Pomquet, Nova Scotia, is a long-time advocate for social justice and women's equality. As Executive Director of the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre since 1988, she works with girls and women on issues of poverty, violence, social exclusion, health education and training. Ms. Harper helped to found several key women's organizations, and has contributed to the work of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women.

    Kerline Joseph
    Kerline Joseph, of Delson, Quebec, is a federal public servant and holds a doctorate in law. Since the early 1990s, she as dedicated herself to fighting discrimination against women. Ms. Joseph was the assistant to the Special Rapporteur of the African Commission. In 2005, she created Voix sans frontières [Voices without borders], which assists immigrant women in Canada. Ms. Joseph is the organization's president.

    Anne Michaud
    Anne Michaud, of Montréal, Quebec, has been active in the women's movement since the 1970s, focusing on helping women feel safer in the urban environment. In 1981, she helped launch "Take Back the Night," a series of simultaneous demonstrations in various cities across Canada that continue to this day. Ms. Michaud helped to make Montréal a leader in urban safety for women. In 2002, Ms. Michaud co-founded Women in Cities International.

    Barbara Mowat
    Barbara Mowat, of Abbotsford, British Columbia, is dedicated to advancing women in business. A business development specialist, she is President of Impact Communications Ltd. Ms. Mowat is the Women Presidents' Organization Chapter Chair in Vancouver and an advisory board member for the Global Banking Alliance for Women. Involved in international work supporting women entrepreneurs in developing countries, Ms. Mowat led a special United Nations project to support businesswomen in Afghanistan.

    This year marks the 81st anniversary of the Persons Case. In 1929, five Canadian women - Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Nellie McClung, who became known as the Famous Five - fought and won the right for women to be recognized as persons before the law, and thus eligible to sit in the Senate. In 1979, the Government of Canada established the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Persons Case decision and to recognize contributions to the advancement of women.

    An official call for nominations for the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case is made every spring. Nomination forms and brochures outlining selection criteria are always available on Status of Women Canada's web site. Nominations may be submitted at any time and will be considered at the annual Selection Committee meeting held in late summer.

    For more information, please contact:

    Rebecca Thompson
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

    Nanci-Jean Waugh
    Director General, Communications and Strategic Planning
    Status of Women Canada

  • Emily Carr Statue Unveiled in Victoria:
    Highlight of Women's History Month in Canada

    Clarice Evans
    Actress Clarice Evans with statue
    (Copyright Merna Forster)
    On October 13th, 2010 an impressive bronze sculpture of Canadian icon Emily Carr was unveiled in Victoria. Hundreds gathered on the south lawn of the Fairmount Empress Hotel to welcome 'Our Emily', who is depicted with her monkey Woo on her shoulder and her dog Billie at her feet.

    This new work of art was commissioned by the Parks and Recreation Foundation of Victoria to pay tribute to Victoria's most famous season. The monument was created by Barbara Paterson, the renowned sculptor who is also responsible for the monuments of The Famous Five on Parliament Hill and in Calgary.

    For more information:
  • Alberta Women's History: Open Call for Historical Materials

    The Alberta Women's Memory Project (AWMP) is digitizing original historical materials that document the history of women in Alberta. They will be made available to students and the public on our website:

    If you have any diaries, letters, newsletters, clippings, photographs, periodicals, artwork, audio files, videos, or other original materials relating to women in Alberta, and wish to have them digitized and featured on our site, please contact Donica Belisle at donicab@athabascau.ca.

    We are especially interested in acquiring materials related to:
    Histories of Indigenous and Métis women;
    Health and reproductive rights;
    Music, theatre, literature, art, and crafts;
    Histories of ethnic and racialized women;
    Women's migration experiences;
    Histories of Franco-Albertan women;
    Feminism in Alberta;
    Women and politics;
    Women, employment, and labour;
    Women in religious communities;
    Personal experiences of women;
    Women's participation in social justice movements;
    Women in community organizations and events.

    The AWMP is a joint community-university initiative dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of women in Alberta. For more information about the AWMP, visit our website at http://www.athabascau.ca/wmst/awmp/.

    People wishing to share historical materials with the AWMP may either keep their materials after digitization, or work with the AWMP to deposit them in a museum or archives.

    **Check out our NEW site on OCTOBER 18: http://www.athabascau.ca/wmst/awmp/.

    Dr. Donica Belisle
    Assistant Professor, Women's and Gender Studies
    Athabasca University
    1 (866) 514-6190

  • Third Wave Feminism?
    ‘Third wave’ of feminism urged by prominent Canadian women

  • The First Canadian Women to Anchor National Evening Newscasts
    Dawna Friesen. Global News/Global National
    Dawna Friesen becomes anchor on Global in September
    Lisa LaFlamme succeeds Lloyd Robertson at CTV

  • Are You Planning to Celebrate Women's History Month?

    women's history month canada

    If you're planning an event to celebrate Women's History Month in Canada, the Status of Women Canada would like to help promote it. Public Affairs Officer Louise Saulnier sent along the following message:

    Are you organizing an activity to commemorate Women’s History Month in the month of October? If so, Status of Women Canada would like to hear from you. Send us the following details – name of the event, date, time, along with a short description of the event and contact information. This information is requested simply to get an idea of the type of events organized across the country. We thank you in advance for your assistance.

    Telephone: 613-995-3901

  • First Female Commander of Snowbirds

    (Photo courtesy Daniel Champagne/DND)

    On May 2, 2010 Lt.-Col.Maryse Carmichael was named as the new commander of the famous Canadian Snowbirds. For the first time in Canadian history a woman will be in charge of the legendary aerobatic team.

    Lt. Col. Carmichael is the only woman to have flown a Snowbirds plane in the 40-year history of the squadron, and her rise to commander is a major personal accomplishment as well as a landmark for Canadian women. She began her career as an air cadet at the age of 13, and joined the Canadian Forces in 1990.

    For more information:
    Maryse Carmichael, biography on heroines.ca
    Snowbirds. official website from DND
    She's the boss, article in The Globe and Mail

  • Feminist History Society Seeking Members

    Canada's Feminist History Society is looking for new members.

    The Feminist History Society was created following a meeting of Canadian feminists in February 2008. Steering committee members include Beth Atcheson, Constance Backhouse, Shari Graydon, Lorraine Greaves, Diana Majury and Beth Symes.The mission of the group is "to publish books about the women’s movement in Canada between 1960 and 2010, books written by the very participants in the movement". The annual membership fee is $100, and all members will receive the society's hardcover book of the year.

    For more information:
    Feminist History Society
    2938 Dundas Street West
    P.O. Box 70573
    Toronto, ON
    M6P 4E7

    Website: Feminist History Society

  • Canada's Amazing Women Olympians

    Clara Hughes
    Clara Hughes
    (Photo courtesy COC)

    The 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver closed on February 28th with Canadian women winning a multitude of medals. Canada won a total of 14 gold medals, setting a record for the country to win the most gold at a Winter Games. And many of those medals were won by Canadian women.

    Canada's National Women's Team beat out the United States team to win the gold medal in hockey. The incredible Clara Hughes ended her impressive Olympic career by wining a bronze medal in speedskating. Having earned six Olympic medals, she now shares with Cyndi Klassen the distinction of being the most decorated Olympians in history. Wow!

    Here's a list of all the wins by Canadian women in the 2010 Games:

    HUMPHRIES Kaillie: Gold Bobsleigh Women's
    MOYSE Heather: Gold Bobsleigh Women's

    UPPERTON Helen: Silver Bobsleigh Women's
    BROWN Shelley-Ann: Silver Bobsleigh Women's

    BARTEL Cori Silver: Curling Women's Curling
    DARBYSHIRE Carolyn: Silver Curling Women's Curling
    O'CONNOR Susan: Silver Curling Women's Curling
    BERNARD Cheryl: Silver Curling Women's Curling
    MOORE Kristie: Silver Curling Women's Curling

    HEIL Jenn: Silver Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Moguls
    MCIVOR Ashleigh: Gold Freestyle Skiing Ladies' Ski Cross
    ROCHETTE Joannie: Bronze Figure Skating Ladies'
    VIRTUE Tessa: Gold Figure Skating Ice Dancing

    AGOSTA Meghan: Gold Hockey Women
    APPS Gillian: Gold Hockey Women
    BONHOMME Tessa: Gold Hockey Women
    BOTTERILL Jennifer: Gold Hockey Women
    HEFFORD Jayna: Gold Hockey Women
    IRWIN Haley: Gold Hockey Women
    JOHNSTON Rebecca: Gold Hockey Women
    DUKE Rebecca: Gold Hockey Women
    KINGSBURY Gina: Gold Hockey Women
    LABONTÉ Charline: Gold Hockey Women
    MACLEOD Carla: Gold Hockey Women
    MIKKELSON Meaghan: Gold Hockey Women
    OUELLETTE Caroline: Gold Hockey Women
    PIPER Cherie: Gold Hockey Women
    SOSTORICS Colleen: Gold Hockey Women
    ST-PIERRE Kim: Gold Hockey Women
    SZABADOS Shannon: Gold Hockey Women
    VAILLANCOURT Sarah Gold Hockey Women
    WARD Catherine Gold Hockey Women
    WICKENHEISER Hayley Gold Hockey Women
    POULIN-NADEAU Marie-Philip: Gold Hockey Women

    RICKER Maëlle: Gold Snowboard Ladies' Snowboard Cross
    NESBITT Christine: Gold Speed Skating Ladies' 1000m
    GROVES Kristina: Silver Speed Skating Ladies' 1500m
    GROVES Kristina: Bronze Speed Skating Ladies' 3000m
    HUGHES Clara: Bronze Speed Skating Ladies' 5000m

    ST-GELAIS Marianne: Silver Short Track Ladies' 500m
    VICENT Tania: Silver Short Track Ladies' 3000m Relay
    ST-GELAIS Marianne: Silver Short Track Ladies' 3000m Relay
    GREGG Jessica: Silver Short Track Ladies' 3000m Relay
    ROBERGE Kalyna: Silver Short Track Ladies' 3000m Relay

  • Mint Issues Klassen Quarter

    Klassen with quarter
    Cindy Klassen with new coin
    (Photo courtesy Royal Canadian Mint)

    On January 5, 2010 the Royal Canadian Mint released about 22 million quarters featuring Olympian Cindy Klassen. The talented speedskater from Winnipeg won five medals at the Turin Games in 2006. Klassen became the most decorated Olympian in Canadian history.

    The quarters honouring Klassen feature the athlete in front of a red Maple Leaf. The new quarters have been randomly bundled in regular rolls of quarters. They can also be obtained at branches of the Royal Bank and Petro-Canada stations. Ontario artist Jason Bouwman designed the coin.

    Klassen will be competing in the upcoming 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

  • No Women's Ski Jumping at Olympics

    Let Women Ski Jump In 2010
    So you assumed there was gender equality in sports now? Think again. When the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on December 22, 2009 that they would not hear an appeal by Canadian women ski jumpers, the women lost their last chance to compete at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made the decision to exclude women's ski jumping from the 2010 Games, claiming it is not sufficiently developed as a sport and doesn't meet the necessary technical criteria. Female jumpers took legal action on the grounds that Vancouver organizers of the Games are contravening the Charter of Rights by permitting only men to compete in ski jumping in the upcoming Olympics. As lower courts have already decided that the charter does not apply to the IOC, the female ski jumpers now have no further options for legal recourse.

    "It is a discriminatory affront to the human dignity of these plaintiffs and elite women ski jumpers across the world," stated Ross Clark, the attorney hired by the group of female ski jumpers who took legal action.

    Supreme Court spurns women ski jumpers, CBC News article
    Female ski jumpers grounded as case dismissed by top court, Globe and Mail article
    IOC's talk against discrimination is little more than hot air, Vancouver Sun article


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