Status of Women Canada

News Releases

News Releases

October 15, 1998


OTTAWA  -- The recipients of Canada's foremost tribute to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution toward promoting the equality of women in Canada were announced today by the Honourable Hedy  Fry, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women).

The recipients of this year's Awards are:

In announcing the recipients of this year's Awards, Dr. Fry stated, "The recipients of these Awards represent the outstanding lifelong contributions of Canadian women who have given selflessly of their time, talent and energy in order to promote the equality of women in Canadian Society." Dr. Fry added that, "while Canadian women have made enormous progress since that groundbreaking day in 1929, much work still needs to be done to ensure that Canadian women enjoy safe, healthy and prosperous lives. We are very fortunate in our country to have women like this year's recipients who have taken up this cause."

The Awards commemorate the lengthy legal and political struggle for women's constitutional right to be recognized as persons, undertaken in the 1920s under the leadership of five Alberta women  -- Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards. Their efforts, which became known as the Persons Case, were rewarded by the decision rendered by the British Privy Council on October 18, 1929, declaring Canadian women to be persons and thus eligible for appointment to the Senate.

The Government of Canada established the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case in 1979 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this decision, and to salute the contributions of contemporary women to the advancement of women's equality.

The 1998 Awards will be presented at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Monday, October 19, 1998 at 10:00 a.m. His Excellency the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada, will preside over the ceremony, and will present the Award medals to the recipients.

Nominations for the 1998 Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case were submitted by individuals, women's groups and other organizations across Canada. The five recipients were selected by an independent selection committee.

There have been 102 recipients of the Awards to date, including Thérèse Casgrain, leader of the effort for women's right to vote in Québec; Dorothy Livesay, one of Canada's foremost women poets and winner of the Governor General's Medal for Poetry in 1944 and 1947; Marguerite Bergeron-Tremblay, a longstanding women's activist in the Lac St-Jean region of Québec; and Marie Hamilton, champion of the advancement of Black women.

Biographies of this year's recipients

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Status of Women Canada

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Last updated: May 30, 2000