Governor General's Awards Medal

GG Awards
Past Recipients

The Governor General's Awards
in Commemoration
of the Persons Case

1998 Recipients

Jacqueline Sicotte Béïque
   Île-des-Soeurs, Québec
One of the first female university graduates in Quebec and one of only six women in her graduating class, Madame Sicotte Béïque received her Bachelor of Arts from Collège Marguerite Bourgeoys in 1930 at the age of 19. Active in the Young Women's League, of which she was president for two years, she later joined the League of Women's Rights, where she, together with the late Thérèse Casgrain, was a leader in the movement which fought for the right for women to vote in provincial elections in Quebec during the 1930s  -- a right that was finally obtained in 1940 after a long and arduous battle.

Alice J. Brown
   Kathryn, Alberta
A long-time activist and advocate for the recognition of farm women as full working partners in their family farms, Ms. Brown founded and became president of the First Alberta Farm Women's Conference Committee bringing Alberta farm women's organizations together under the Alberta Farm Women's Network. In 1984, after three years of intensive lobbying, she was a catalyst in changing the federal Prairie Grain Advance Payment Act to give women farm corporation partners equal access to grain advance payments. Along with other farm women, she was instrumental in changing Statistics Canada's 1992 Agricultural Census form to include a valuation of women's labour on farms as an economic measure of input costs.

Claire Heggtveit
   Nepean, Ontario
Claire Heggtveit holds a Master's degree in social work. She has used her lifelong concern with equality for women to develop statistics that would better define the relationship between women's socio-economic role and their health. Through her extensive statistical research, she completed a survey for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the first national focus on family planning, abortion and divorce, that gave impetus to the establishment of a nation-wide system for the regular and full reporting of statistics on these issues. Mrs. Heggtveit also established the first national roster on family planning and abortion services that investigated the coverage of community and women's health in these areas. As one of the first members of the Board of Directors of Amethyst Women's Addiction Centre in Ottawa, she worked to have four beds set aside for women alcoholics, offering a refuge to women who were on the street and was instrumental in the creation of a separate house for women to enable them to participate in addiction rehabilitation programs.

Stella-Maris Zola Gule-LéJohn
   Winnipeg, Manitoba
Born in Soweto, South Africa, Ms. LéJohn has been a strong advocate for women's equality and has been actively involved in community and volunteer service in Canada for almost 30 years. By highlighting the pivotal role played by African women in social development, both locally and overseas, she has helped to promote an understanding of issues such as female genital mutilation and the need for ethnic associations to participate in combating violence against women on a global scale. Working for Canadian women globally, she helped establish the Manitoba Committee on the Conference for the United Nations End of Decade for Women to facilitate the participation of women at the NGO Forum at the Third United Nations World Conference on Women in Nairobi; was instrumental in establishing a national process to enable women to engage in deliberations both in Beijing at the Fourth United Nations World Conference for Women and at home. As co-chair of the Europe and North America Regional Focal Point for Beijing, she was one of the facilitators of the NGO Forum in Beijing.

Phyllis Seymour
   St. John's, Newfoundland
A professional social worker, Ms. Seymour has dedicated herself to the promotion of social justice, addressing mainly violence against women and children. As Director of Emmanuel House, a short-term residential transition house, she developed an innovative program to provide a range of service, treatment and support to women at a time in Newfoundland when sexual abuse was not recognized as the underlying cause of many psychiatric problems. Her efforts to educate women and women's groups about abuse, led to the creation of several workshops, including "Understanding Wife Battering" and "Counselling Women Abused by their Partners". Ms. Seymour was also instrumental in the phase out of the Mount Cashel Orphanage, which lead to the creation of Choices for Youth, a housing and support program for young people.

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Last updated: May 29, 2000