MacDonald (1926-2015) was a Canadian politician,
and the first female foreign minister in the country. She was also known for
her humanitarian work.
She was a member of the Progressive Conservative
Party and was one of the first women to campaign for the leadership of a major
Canadian party. During her time as foreign minister, she had to deal with a
Vietnamese refugee crisis during which time she allowed more than 60,000
refugees to settle in Canada.
Scott (1928-2012) was a Canadian figure skater, known for her many feats in
international events. She was a Canadian national champion four times, World champion
twice, and the Olympic champion in 1948.
She started ice skating at the age of seven
and won her first national junior title at eleven. She is the first and the
only Canadian to win the gold medal for ladies’ single figure skating.
(1916-2006) was an American-Canadian author, journalist and activist. She
was particularly influential in urban studies, and her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities argued
that urban renewal did not respect the needs of the citizens.
She fought to prevent so-called ‘slum clearances’ in Greenwich Village,
New York, where entire blocks would have been demolished and replaced with high
rises. Her influence is proven by her introduction of sociological concepts
such as “social capital” and “eyes on the street” in urban studies. A medal in
her name was established in 2007 for individuals who bring significant
contributions to urban design.
Peters (1911-1993) was a Canadian oncologist. She conducted
lifesaving research in the field of breast cancer.
She graduated from the University of Toronto
in 1934. In 1950, she revealed a cure for patients with early Hodgkin’s
disease, considered uncurable at the time. She also discovered that breast-conserving
surgery, followed by radiation, was just as effective as mastectomy for cases
of breast cancer, which greatly improved the lives of patients. She received
several awards and honorary doctorates for her work.
Lisa Appignanesi (b. 1946) is a
British-Canadian novelist. She has served as the President of English PEN and
is currently Chair of the Royal Society of Literature.
Among her works are Memory and Desire and Freud’s Women, studies of Freud’s ideas
in relation to women, as well as Mad, Bad
and Sad : A History of Women and the Mind Doctors. The latter won the
2009 Award for the Public Understanding of Science from the British Medical
Christine Stewart (1941-2015) was a
Canadian politician who held various cabinet positions during her career, such
as Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa, and Minister of the
During her time as
Minister of the Environment, she promoted numerous actions for the
environmental protection and against climate change. After leaving politics,
she acted as a special envoy to Cameroon for the Commonwealth Secretary
Léa Roback (1903-2000) was a Canadian feminist and social activist, a pioneer
in her province of Quebec. Her activism focused on combatting racism and
injustice, as well as giving Canadian women the vote.
She helped establish the International Ladies’
Garment Worker’s Union in Montreal and led a strike of 5 thousand women in
1937. She fought for access to education and decent housing in Canada, as well
as for the reproductive rights of women, such as the legality of abortion and
contraception. A foundation was created in her name in 1993, providing
scholarships to socially-committed women.
Nellie McClung (1873-1951)
was a political activist and suffragist from Canada. She was part of “The
Famous Five”, the group of women who led the effort to recognize women as
persons in their country.
She began campaigning for women’s suffrage in
the 1910s, and helped organise the Women’s Political Equality League. Other
causes that she championed were property rights for married women, factory
safety reforms and medical care for school children. She was the founder of the
Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada – the largest adult education movement
in the country.
Kate Beaton (b. 1983) is a Canadian comic artist. She is best known for her webcomic, Hark! A Vagrant, which focuses predominantly on historical figures presented in a humorous way.
She has won numerous prizes for her work, including the Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent and the Harvey Award for Best Online Comics Work. Her work can be found at http://www.harkavagrant.com/.
Emily Stowe (1831-1903) was the first woman to practice medicine in Canada. In addition, she was a strong activist for women’s rights.
She graduated with first-class honours from the Normal School for Upper Canada in 1854, after being refused from other institutions on account of her gender. She became the first female principal of a public school in Upper Canada, but later went on to study medicine in the United States since no Canadian medical school would accept female students. She finally managed to open her own medical practice in Toronto in 1867.