For more than 20 years, Margaret-Ann Armour, through mentoring and leadership, encouraged and continues to encourage young women and girls to pursue careers in non-traditional fields such as science and engineering. As the assistant-chair of the department of chemistry at the University of Alberta, she is an excellent role model for women who have an interest in science. Through her strong leadership and continuing efforts with the Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST) program and the University of Alberta's Women in Science and Engineering (UAYs) program, Margaret-Ann Armour strives to create a safe and encouraging atmosphere for young women to pursue their education and to encourage them to stick with their dreams. Margaret-Ann Armour received the Sarah Shorten Award of the Canadian Association of University Teachers last year in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the advancement of the status of women in Canadian Universities.
Françoise David began as a community organizer and information officer, active in working-class neighbourhoods of Montréal and working mainly with women. As President of the Fédération des femmes du Québec, a position she held from 1994 to 2001, she ensured that women's issues, particularly poverty and violence against women, were and will remain in the forefront, both in Quebec and in Canada as a whole. Two of her greatest and best known successes were undoubtedly the 1995 Women's March against Poverty and the 2000 World March of Women against Poverty and Violence. In 1995, more than 800 women in Quebec marched for 10 days; the most important gains were an increase in the minimum wage, social housing with community support, and a three-year limit on sponsorship for all sponsored immigrant women in Quebec. Five years later, the Fédération des femmes du Québec organized a World March of Women, mobilizing 6,000 groups in 160 of the world's countries. It is this determination that has made Françoise David an outstanding leader and a role model for all women.
Passion, fearlessness and determination are all words used to describe Michele Landsberg as a writer, a speaker and a person. It is these qualities, along with her ability to bring out the human side of her stories and columns that makes her a strong voice for women and children, whether she tackles the health care system, violence against women, human rights or the harsh reality women face around the globe. Michele Landsberg does not address these issues with pen and paper only. In public, Michele Landsberg never hesitates to speak truth to power, and she also works tirelessly behind the scenes with the same good humour, clarity and commitment she puts into her writing, volunteering her time as an advisor and activist to feminist, anti-poverty and social justice endeavours. A YWCA Women of Distinction Award, a MediaWatch Award and two National Newspaper Awards are among Michele Landsberg's many honours, but she is not content to set down her pen while there is still so much to be done in the struggle for justice. Married to Stephen Lewis, she is a mother, grandmother, gardener and the author of three best-selling books.
Pond Inlet, Nunavut
As a teacher and advocate for the conservation of Inuit culture, Elisapie Ootova is determined to see that young women and girls are proud of their heritage and their community. She was a main contributor to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People's women's governance document, Pond Inlet Women Speak about Power. Known for her firm and fair judgment, Elisapie Ootova fulfilled many roles within her community from RCMP cell matron, to organizing much needed counseling groups for victims of spousal assault and child sexual assault. She has created two important educational tools. An Encyclopedia of Inuit Traditional Knowledge and an Inuktitut Dictionary: Tununiq Dialect not only represent the commitment Elisapie Ootova has to her culture, but also her commitment to bridge a better understanding between Southern and Northern cultures.
Megan Reid (Youth Award)
This fall Meagan Reid will be attending her first year at university. Already she has been involved in a number of her own initiatives to encourage her colleagues and younger women and girls to appreciate themselves for who they are. One of her greatest concerns is body image and how it affects young women and men. To battle this, Megan is in the process of designing a program that targets elementary school girls at a time when they are at a critical point in their lives. The program will combat a negative body image and eating disorders, giving the young girls healthy images and alternatives. Megan Reid is also extremely involved in the Canadian Cancer Society, volunteering her time and organizing large events to raise money for finding a cure. After studying medicine she would like to join "Doctors Without Borders."
St. John's, Newfoundland
For 30 years, Nancy Riche was an activist, trade unionist and feminist within the labour movement. She was the chair of the Women's Committee and led the Department of Women and Human Rights at the Canadian Labour Congress. Nancy Riche raised her voice on issues such as the burden of multiple workloads of working women, maternal and paternal leave, accessible quality childcare and racism and discrimination in the workplace, affecting change in government policy and public knowledge. Whether speaking at community forums, chairing international labour committees or appearing before countless government committees, Nancy Riche worked, and continues to work, to change the lives of women in positive and significant ways while building a bridge between the labour and the feminist movements.
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