Dr. Mildred Burns
In her 25 years as a professor of educational administration at McGill University, Dr. Mildred Burns worked tirelessly to inspire students, men as well as women, to see beyond self-imposed limits and to promote women's full participation in senior educational roles. An inspired leader and mentor, Dr. Burns is widely appreciated as a connector of people with professional as well as personal opportunities. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Burns helped win the right for staff and professionals at McGill to work beyond the age of 65. Retiring in 1994 at the age of 75, Dr. Burns continues her active participation in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society to ensure that women have access to the range of educational programs, from literacy to undergraduate and graduate programs, and the support they need to reach their full potential.
Shari Graydon is a tireless advocate for social justice, a passionate teacher and a prolific writer on the topic of women and the media. From 1992 to 2000, she served as President of MediaWatch, Canada's foremost proponent for gender equality in the media, using her leadership skills, sense of humour and communications expertise to promote awareness of media sexism and its impacts to tens of thousands of Canadians. As President of the Women's Future Fund, the first and only national women's fundraising federation in Canada, Ms. Graydon worked to increase collaboration among - and the profile of - national equality-seeking women's organizations, to ensure that all women and girls enjoy the full range of rights and opportunities that Canada offers. The author of numerous articles and two award-winning media literacy books, Ms. Graydon initiated the Annual Persons Day Reception on Parliament Hill.
Élaine Hémond is an inspired leader and a devoted advocate for women's equitable representation in government. A co-founder, former president and now Director of Femmes, politique et démocratie, Ms. Hémond has for almost 10 years instilled her passion in this organization dedicated to citizenship and democratic engagement. Using a variety of popular education methods and the partnership of politicians of both sexes and all political viewpoints, this group has helped open the corridors of power to many Quebec women. Thanks to the efforts of Femmes, politique et démocratie, women are increasingly aware of both their rights as well as their responsibilities for participating in decision-making processes that affect society, now and in the future. A brilliant researcher and journalist, Ms. Hémond is also an award-winning video producer. Her work has had a significant and lasting impact on the lives of Quebec women and men as well as on Canadian politics at all levels.
Fredericton, New Brunswick
Dr. Wendy Robbins is a pioneer in the field of women's studies. A distinguished academic with a long list of accomplishments, she started publishing feminist literary criticism in the 1970s and co-founded the University of New Brunswick's Women's Studies Interdisciplinary Program in 1986. From 1992 to 1995, Dr. Robbins served as Director of Research for the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, where her tireless commitment and her deep-seated understanding of the socio-economic and legal issues affecting women led to significant advancements. Dr. Robbins also co-founded PAR-L, one of the world's first online feminist discussion lists. In addition, her efforts helped bring pay equity to the provincial civil service and improve access to Canada Research Chairs for women, Aboriginal people, visible minorities and persons with disabilities. Since 2001, Dr. Robbins has compiled the annual Ivory Towers: Feminist and Equity Audits.
For almost half a century, Muriel Smith has worked tirelessly to bring about women's full participation in Canadian society. An inspired teacher and mentor, Ms. Smith was elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1981 and went on to become the first woman in Canada to be named Deputy Premier. She also served in a number of Cabinet posts, including Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. Ms. Smith ushered in the first pay equity legislation in Canada, helped establish a network of women's shelters and a zero-tolerance domestic violence policy in the judicial system, developed a model childcare program, a comprehensive system of community supports for differently abled people, and dramatically increased women's representation in government. As current Vice-President of the National Council of Women of Canada and Legislation Director of the Canadian Federation of University Women, Ms. Smith remains active and steadfast in her vision.
Viviana Astudillo-Clavijo (Youth Award)
Viviana Astudillo-Clavijo is a devoted community volunteer, inspired mentor and gifted artist whose work addresses the challenges facing girls and young women in today's society. A passionate student advocate, Ms. Astudillo-Clavijo is described as both humble and wise beyond her years. Her colourful artwork has helped promote messages of peace, compassion and empowerment to young girls and has already won recognition and numerous local, national and international awards for this dynamic young woman. An active member of Empowered Students Partnerships, a student-led joint venture with the Toronto Police, Ms. Astudillo-Clavijo has worked tirelessly to promote school safety and end female bullying. Her artwork has appeared on murals, postcards, school yearbooks and the UNICEF Calendar, among others.
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