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  • People

  • Japanese dressmakers

    by DG Graham | Jun 1, 1998

    Very few Canadians know much about the history of the Japanese in Canada, or the important role Japanese women played. They virtually started their own industry using and developing skills that they brought from Japan. They knew these skills could lead them to independence here. Now – with mechanization and cheap, exploited labour in Canada and around the world – these skills have all but disappeared, but for a time the Japanese were the dressmaking industry in British Columbia. read more

  • activist: Gloria Greenfield

    by Frances Rooney | May 22, 1998

    Do we ever see the ripple effect of our actions? In 1970 – the year the Royal Commission on the Status of Women reported – there were no shelters for battered women. No attention was paid to women’s health issues. There weren’t supportive places for women writers to meet. Then, Gloria Greenfield – a modest, hard-working Vancouver, British Columbia, woman – spearheaded the Vancouver Women’s Bookstore and the first fully residential transition house – changing the quality of women’s lives forever. read more

  • writer: Evelyn Lau

    by DG Graham | May 15, 1998

    Evelyn Lau published the book, “The Diary of Evelyn Lau,” when she was 18. It documents the two years she spent on the streets of Vancouver, British Columbia, as a drug addict and teenage prostitute. The book explored the realities of a world on our streets that many Canadians had never thought about. Sixteen years after her book was published, young women and men still struggle with addiction and sexual exploitation. How can they break the cycle? How can we? read more

  • Mary Ann Shadd and Mary Bibb

    by DG Graham | May 4, 1998

    Both were abolitionists with strong anti-slavery views. Both were teachers, involved in publishing. Both were strong Black women. And, apparently, both disliked each other intensely. Mary Bibb and Mary Ann Shadd had a vision of improving the lives of Black people in Canada and the U.S. That they weren’t crazy about each other, and may have wanted to get each other into a boxing ring, is testimony that a truly strong individual never loses her individuality, even when fighting for a common cause  read more

  • playwright, actor, artist: Colleen Wagner

    by Colleen Wagner | Apr 17, 1998

    Colleen Wagner’s art, whether acting, writing or as a playwright, expresses her experiences in life in ways true to her calling. Having seen human rights atrocities in Poland, Asia, China and India, she has written a number of award-winning plays that are testaments to her ability as an artist to translate human suffering into art. Her live experiences have also shown how she has taken control of her life at every turn to follow her artistic instincts. read more

  • manager: Mabel Bell

    by DG Graham | Mar 20, 1998

    The first powered flight in Canada was on February 23, 1909. It would not have happened without Mabel Bell, the wife of the more famous Alexander Graham Bell. It was not long before women were flying planes all around the world. Alys McKey Bryant became the first woman pilot in Canada in 1913.  read more

  • activist: Carrie Best

    by DG Graham | Feb 25, 1998

    Carrie Best changed laws and changed lives for blacks in Nova Scotia. She stood up for her community. Carrie Best used her voice and magnified its power and reach through local and national media. Carrie Best was a doer, not a complainer; a problem-solver, not a critic. read more

  • photographer: Edith Watson

    by Frances Rooney | Dec 31, 1997

    Meet one of the world’s first photojournalists, Edith Watson. Watson started out traveling and painting with her sister in New England and New York. In 1890, she switched to the camera. She spent 40 years wandering Canada, photographing mostly rural women. She captured many intimate moments of women helping create the country Canada would become. She recorded that women did build this nation.  read more

  • writer, activist, performer: Ramabai Espinet

    by Reshma Budhu | Dec 9, 1997

    Ramabai Espinet speaks from the outer margins of mainstream society – a space inhabited by = women of colour. To writer, activist, performer, poet, artist, mother, Indian Carribean and Canadian, she has now added novelist. Her first novel, The Swinging Bridge, was published in August 2003. Joining the ranks of many exceptional women in Canada, the multiple roles of Ramabai Espinet are a result of her extraordinary ability to be heard from one invisible place. read more

  • physicist: Prof. Ursula Franklin

    by Ursula Franklin | Oct 16, 1997

    At the May 10, 1995, University of New Brunswick “More Than Just Numbers” conference on women and engineering, Dr. Ursula M. Franklin, C.C. FRSC spoke of the December 6, 1989, murder of 14 young women at Montreal’s L’Ecole Polytechnique and the sexism and misogyny that was – and still remains today – at the root of the problem. read more


  • Seasonal Feature

  • April 1994: the night raid at Kingston’s Prison for Women

    by Sierra Bacquie

    There was supposed to be a new approach to the Correctional Service of Canada’s relationship to female offenders, who were promised responsible choices, respect, dignity, supportive environments, and shared responsibility. But on the night of April 26, eight women experienced humiliation, degradation, raw fear and trauma at the hands of an all-male emergency team. How did this happen? What has changed since?  read more