2008 Recipients

Shelagh Day

Ms. Shelagh Day is an international authority on women's human rights who has dedicated 35 years of her life to ending discrimination against women. A prolific author, she is an expert on anti-discrimination law, constitutional equality rights, and social and economic rights. Ms. Day has enhanced public understanding of the strong connection between vigorous social programs and the fulfilment of women's human rights. A driving force behind ensuring that women can use their rights, she was the first President of the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund and a founder of the Court Challenges Program. Ms. Day is also a founder of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and Chair of its Human Rights Committee. A passionate advocate for equality for all women, Ms. Day is a much sought-after speaker. Among her many current pursuits, she is a Director of the Poverty and Human Rights Centre. Shelagh Day lives in Vancouver.

Frances Ennis

Frances Ennis is a feminist, social activist, public servant and rug hooking artist who has, over a 35-year period, made significant contributions to advancing equality for women. She has provided leadership on the boards and committees of many community,  provincial and national women's equality seeking organizations -  the Canadian Congress on Learning Opportunities for Women, Newfoundland and Labrador's Women in Resource Development, the Provincial Association Against Family Violence, Rabbittown Learners Program, the Women's Health Education Project and the 52% Solution, to name a few. Throughout her career, Ms. Ennis created and facilitated training programs and processes on a variety of topics for community organizations and government agencies. She authored and co-authored books on women's lives, including Strong as the Ocean, chronicling women in the fishery, and she has designed and hooked rugs depicting critical moments in women's history. Remember... Move Forward commemorates the victims of the Montreal Massacre, and Votes for Women is an image of marching suffragists. Frances Ennis lives in St. John's.

Beverley Jacobs

Beverley Jacobs is an activist, academic and political and spiritual leader who has dedicated her life to promoting equality for Aboriginal women and girls. A proud member of the Mohawk Nation, a former entrepreneur and now a lawyer, Ms. Jacobs has dealt with such issues as discrimination in the Indian Act, the impacts of residential schools, matrimonial real property and Aboriginal women's health. Elected president of the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) in 2004, she has shown inspired leadership, especially in addressing the tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Ms. Jacobs' groundbreaking work with Amnesty International and the Stolen Sisters report led to her commitment to NWAC's Sisters in Spirit initiative. Ms. Jacobs is mom to Ashley and gramma to Nicholas, Tessa and Bryson. She lives with her partner, Patrick Sandy, at the Six Nations Grand River Territory in southern Ontario (Ohsweken).

Maureen A. McTeer

Maureen McTeer is a lawyer, author and social activist who is an expert in issues of women's rights and health and those of law, science and public policy. She participated in the successful campaign to have women's equality rights enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Her books include Parliament: Canada's Democracy and How it Works and Tough Choices: Living and Dying in the 21st Century. She served on Canada's Royal Commission on New Reproductive Technologies and is an expert on issues of reproduction and genetics. A dedicated volunteer, Ms. McTeer currently serves as the lay member of both the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Women's Health. As well, she was a founding member of the Ottawa Health Council. Ms. McTeer has won academic and legal awards and honours for her work, including an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Sheffield (U.K.) in 2008. She lives in Ottawa.

Maïr Verthuy

Maïr Verthuy is a researcher, academic and activist. Born in Wales, she immigrated to Canada in the late 1950s and taught at Concordia University from 1965 to 2003. In 1978, she co-founded Canada's first women's studies program, the Simone de Beauvoir Institute. Her focus was on Quebec French-language women writers, often with emphasis on immigrants. Ms. Verthuy has been honoured as Woman of the Year by the Salon de la Femme as well as a YWCA Woman of Distinction. She was a member of the Canadian delegation at the Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. In 2001, she was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes académiques, the French government's highest distinction recognizing the promotion of the French culture, language and literature in teaching. Ms. Verthuy is past chair of the Thérèse Casgrain Foundation and of the Montreal Council of Women. A member of the Conseil des Montréalaises since 2006, Maïr Verthuy lives in Montréal.

YOUTH AWARD - Benjamin Barry

Ben Barry embraces gender equality in his work as well as in his life. At age 14, he founded the Ben Barry Modelling Agency, establishing offices in Ottawa and Toronto. Rejecting society's beauty myth, Mr. Barry's agency aims to create an inclusive and empowering fashion industry by representing models of all ages, sizes, colours, and abilities. Mr. Barry values his agency's 300 models as people, not products, encouraging them to express their unique personality and spirit. In 2002, Mr. Barry won the CIBC Canadian Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Queen's Jubilee Medal. Mr. Barry graduated from university with a major in Women's Studies, and won a scholarship to Cambridge University to pursue doctoral studies on perceptions of beauty around the world. He serves on the board of the Canadian Foundation for Women's Health and wrote the book Fashioning Reality. Mr. Barry lives in Ottawa and Toronto.

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