A Guide to Women in Canadian History
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News Archives 2011
Upcoming in 2011
Top 20 - Canadian Women in the News 2011
Canadian women made headlines across the country in 2011, in some cases making history. This list includes individuals and also groups of women who made news – in everything from arts and entertainment to sports and politics. Random order, from serious accomplishments and deaths to trivia.
2. Freestyle skier Jennifer Heil was selected by The Canadian Press as female athlete of 2011, winning the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award. Heil earned numerous Olympic medals and World Cup titles during her stellar career and is now an enthusiastic supporter of the Because I am a Girl Campaign. (See the book 100 Canadian Heroines for the story of Bobbie Rosenfeld.)
3. 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.
4. Ann Southham, a prominent female composer, died in 2011 and willed $14 million to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. This was the largest donation ever made to a women’s organization in Canada.
5. Kathy Dunderdale led the Progessive Conservatives in Newfoundland and Labrador to an impressive win in the province in October, returning the party to its third consecutive term. Dunderdale became the first woman in the history of the province to lead her party to electoral victory in the house of assembly.
7. Canadian women ski jumpers will be competing in Japan! After years of lobbying and legal wrangling that failed to get women jumping at the 2010 Vancouver Games, the International Olympic Committee announced it will permit women to compete in ski jumping in the 2014 Sochi Games.
Canadian athlete Kate Willis was among the many women who was ecstatic at the news. "I still can't believe it in some ways …This has been a long fight to get here," she said.
8. Activists are still fighting for investigations relating to hundreds of missing and murdered aboriginal women. The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) and the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) announced in December that the United Nations will conduct an inquiry. Hearings for the British Columbia Missing Women Commission of Inquiry began this year, but many organizations refused to be involved because of the lack of public legal funding.
9. Women are making waves in politics in Alberta. On October 1, 2011, Alison Redford was elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party. She became Alberta's 14th premier. When Redford runs in the next provincial election in Alberta, she’ll be facing another powerful woman: Danielle Smith. Elected leader of the Wildrose Party back in 2009, the popular politician claims that under her leadership membership has risen from 11,000 to 30,000.
10. A native woman who lived in Kahnawake in the 17th century is nearing sainthood. An announcement from the Vatican in December 2011 indicated that Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) will soon become North America's first aboriginal saint. (Read about Kateri Tekakwith in the book 100 Canadian Heroines.)
11. Betty Fox, who continued her son Terry’s crusade to raise money for cancer research, died in June.
12. Christy Clark succeeded Gordon Campbell as leader of the BC Liberal Party, and was sworn in as Premier of British Columbia on March 14th, 2011.
13. Dr. Monique Dubé received Canadian Geographic’s 2011 Environmental Scientist of the Year Award in recognition of her important research regarding aquatic ecosystems.
14. Female presenters of the news were themselves making headlines this year. Dawna Friesen, at Global TV, and then CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme became the first two women to anchor weeknight national newscasts in Canada on a regular, full-time basis.
15. Scientist/astronaut Dr. Roberta Bondar and Canadian actress Sandra Oh were among the 2011 inductees for Canada’s Walk of Fame. Sandra Oh can be seen on Grey’s Anatomy, a television show which Canadians rated as the third most popular program they watched in 2011 (after The Big Bang Theory and American Idol.)
16. Canadian singer Meaghan Smith won a 2011 Juno Award for Best New Artist, and her new album was named Best Pop Recording of the Year at the 2011 East Coast Music Awards. (Check out her music at http://www.meaghansmith.com.)
17. Remember Maria Aragon? This pint-sized fan of Lady Gaga loves to sing like her idol, and posted one of her songs on YouTube: Born This Way. Maria’s rendition of the popular tune became the third most-watched YouTube video for Canadians in 2011. YouTube
More than 45 million people have viewed this video! Lady Gaga was so impressed with Maria that she arranged for the two to perform a duet together during a concert in Toronto.
18. Canadian actress Meg Tilly returned to the stage after a 15-year break to focus on family and writing. Popular in The Big Chill (1983) and nominated for an Oscar in Agnes of God, she now lives in Victoria and performed there in Blue Bridge’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? this year. In January 2012 the actress will be starring in Bomb Girls, a new drama series for Global TV about women working in a World War Two munitions factory.
20. Canada lost the country’s first prima ballerina, when Lois Smith died in Sechelt, British Columbia at the age of 81. (Read about Lois Smith in the book 100 More Canadian Heroines.)
Debates of the Senate (Hansard)
1st Session, 41st Parliament,
Volume 148, Issue 22
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker
This year we celebrate the contributions of women in the Canadian Forces. Their work ethic and contributions, first as field nurses and then as soldiers, aviators and marines, are testament to the significance of women in the Canadian military. These courageous Canadians fight alongside their male counterparts, wade through treacherous grounds and place their lives in danger. To you, women in the forces both past and present, I salute and thank you for your service.[Translation]
On the battlefields and elsewhere, women have played a vital role in countless facets of our society. Take, for example, Mary Adams, a teacher and an inspiration, who paved the way for women in the fields of science and math; Victoria Cheung, the first female Chinese-Canadian doctor; or Robertine Barry, Quebec's first female journalist, who used her words to promote the values of equality. The vision, perseverance and courage of all these women and many others helped build the Canada we know today.[English]
Author and historian Merna Forster grew up in Turner Valley, the same hometown as Ms. Laureen Harper. She heard these stories and was moved to capture them in text. In two volumes of 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces, she documents 200 remarkable women in our history who have forever changed our nation, transforming people's understanding of women's contributions in leadership, sciences, arts and more. Through writing, Merna hoped to rescue these trailblazers from obscurity and give them the recognition and place in history they rightly deserve.
Honourable senators, I stand here on the shoulders of these great women and those of the women from my own history and family.[Translation]
I am inspired by my mother, Kye Soon Kim, who was born in 1937 during the Japanese Imperial occupation of Korea, which lasted 35 years. Korea was liberated in 1945, but torn apart by civil war a mere five years later. My mother was only 13 years old. She is a survivor, just like her own mother. My mother and people of her generation missed out on some great opportunities. "Do everything I never had the chance to do," she would always tell me.[English]
"Do everything I never had a chance to do" is my mother's mantra.
October 21, 2011
Federal cabinet minister Rona Ambrose, responsible for the status of women, unveiled a plaque in Edmonton today to recognize the historical significance of the now-famous Persons Case. This important milestone in the advancement of the equality for women in Canada has been designated an event of national historic significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Back in 1928 judges in the Supreme Court of Canada agreed that women were not "persons" and could not therefore hold public office as senators. The British Privy Council determined that this exclusion of women from public office in Canada was "a relic of days more barbarous than ours"- and reversed the decision.
Five Alberta women fought for this change in the law, and are now remembered as the Famous Five.
All Canadians owe debt to Famous Five, article in the Edmonton Journal.
Read about each of the Famous Five in the book 100 Canadian Heroines: Famous and Forgotten Faces.
On October 18, 2011, Governor General David Johnston presented the annual Persons Awards to six notable Canadians. The awards were presented on the 82nd anniversary of the Persons Case, when women in Canadian won the right to be recognized as persons before the law. The fight was lead by five Alberta women: Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Edwards.
The 2011 recipients are:
Madeline Boscoe, R.N., D.U. from North Vancouver, who dedicated more than three decades to improving the health of women in Canada.
Nancy Hartling, from Riverview, New Brunswick,who has advocated for women in the areas of domestic violence and poverty.
Lucie Joyal, of Boucherville, Quebec, a leader in fighting violence against women and children.
Sharon Donna McIvor, from Merritt, British Columbia, who was worked to advance equality for Aboriginal women.
Kim Pate, of Ottawa, who was advocated for the rights of marginalized, victimized and criminalized women.
Amber JoAnn Fletcher from Regina, a leader working for social justice and equality.
3 – 5 May 2012, Concordia University, Montreal
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative
Watercolour by Fanny Bayfield ca. 1831-1850
(Library and Archives Canada 1963-103-11)
Announcement from Concordia University
Is it time for a new history of women and art in Canada? If so, what might such a history, or set of histories, look like? With four decades of scholarship to draw on, women’s art history is well established as a critical approach that has broadened the range of issues, objects and practitioners open to art historical consideration. In Canada, research into this expanded field has produced both narrative overviews and analytic case studies. What are the strengths of this scholarship, and what remains to be achieved? What challenges are raised by the task of integrating existing knowledge into a broader synthetic framework, and what solutions can we imagine? Which stories are still to be told? What gaps and omissions would frame such a history from its margins?
We invite proposals for 20 minute papers that address any aspect of a new history of women and art in Canada. These may range from historically geared analyses of the artworks and artists that such a history could include, to methodologically oriented discussions of its theoretical, organizational or technological horizons. Proposals from academics, curators, librarians, archivists and artists are all welcome.
Please email a 150-word abstract and 2-page c.v. to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 OCTOBER 2011. Graduate students should also forward a letter of support from their supervisors.
Any inquiries may be directed to Dr. Kristina Huneault, Department of Art History,
Concordia University email@example.com 514.848.2424 ext. 4697.
June 30, 2011
Hayley Wickenheiser, 2010 Olympics
Canadian hockey star Hayley Wickenheiser has been awarded the Order of Canada. The acclaimed hockey player, considered by many to be the world's top female in the field, received the award because of her athletic achievements as well as her promotion of women's hockey. Hayley Wickenheiser, a native of Saskatchewan, has devoted considerable time and effort to helping charities such as Right to Play.More:
Article from The Globe and Mail
If you're visiting Banff be sure to check out two new exhibits that celebrate some notable women. Women Adventurers in the Rockies runs from June 19-November 15, 2011. The exhibition features ten exceptional women who made notable contributions in the Rocky Mountains.
A second exhibit, Women Artists A to Z Art Show & Sale, can be viewed June 4-August 2, 2011. This art show features 19 female artists from Alberta. Many of their works were inspired by the Canadian Rockies.More:
Exhibitions at the Whyte Museum
May 2, 2011
(Green Party of Canada)
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. May won a seat in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding on Vancouver Island, defeating incumbent and cabinet minister Gary Lunn. The final vote count was 31,900 for May and 24,541 for Lunn, who placed second in the exciting race. Edith Loring-Kuhanga (NDP) came in third and Liberal candidate Renée Hetherington placed fourth.
A lawyer as well as the author of seven books, May is a prominent environmentalist and activist. Her career includes a stint as Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada as well as teacher of courses at both Dalhousie and Queens University. She's been awarded three honourary doctorates and was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2005. In November 2010, Newsweek named her as "one of the world's most influential women."
May's win earns her the distinction of being the first person in North America to win a parliamentary seat for a green party.More:
Biography, Green Party website
May wins first elected seat for Greens, The Vancouver Sun
Canada elects Elizabeth May, its first Green MP, article in The Guardian
Third try's a charm for Elizabeth May, Toronto Star article
Elizabeth May wins first seat for Greens, Globe and Mail article
May 2, 2011
As a result of the federal election on May 2, 2011, a few more women will be heading to Ottawa to sit as Members of Parliament. CTV News is reporting that preliminary results show 76 women were elected, a slight increase from the 69 who held seats before the election. There are 308 seats in the House of Commons.More:
Record number of women headed to Ottawa, CTV News
The federal government has announced that a new Hero Class coast guard vessel will be named after Capt. Nichola Goddard. The ship is currently under construction in Halifax. It will be called the CCGS Captain Goddard M.S.M. Goddard's mother indicated that her family is thrilled with the honour, saying it will help ensure Nichola is not forgotten.
Goddard was serving in Afghanistan when she was killed on May 17, 2006, after a grenade struck the military vehicle in which she was travelling. Capt. Goddard was the first female Canadian soldier to die in action. She received the Meritorious Service Medal.
January 11, 2011
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