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Bédard, Lois

  • Canada
  • Person
  • [December 31, 1923] - December 14, 2007

Lois (née Dowson) Bédard was born in 1923 in Weston, Ontario – to a working-class family of 7 children. Mother, Mary Brittania Dowson worked as a stenographer and father, Walter L. Dowson, was a printer. Lois Bédard was notable for her activism in the Canadian Trotskyist movement and for promoting feminist causes, both independently, and through union activism, increasingly from the 1960s to the early 2000s.

Lois Bédard earned her Bachelor’s degree from York Memorial Collegiate and her Master’s of Education from the University of Toronto. In the late 1940s, she married Jean-Marie Bédard: a prominent Québec union activist and committed socialist, who served as president of the Quebec Socialist Party (PSQ) from 1966-1968.

Lois Bédard was one of the few women involved in the Canadian Trotskyist movement. In 1946, her fellow sibling activist, Ross Dowson, had led the Canadian branch of the Trotskyist movement, called, “The Revolutionary Workers Party (RWP.)” In 1974, Lois Bédard was among the members that split from the Canadian Trotskyist group to become a member of the Socialist League, (or the “Forward Group,”) along with founding member, Ross Dowson.

Throughout her activist career, Lois Bédard promoted feminist causes, both independently, and within the labour movement. She was a founding member of Organized Working Women, in 1977, which promoted women’s rights in the workplace and advocated for their involvement in traditional labour organizations. They adopted, “A Woman’s Place is in Her Union,” as one of their slogans. She served on the first executive council of Organized Working Women, before becoming its president, early in 1986.

Lois Bédard lobbied for pay equity between men and women and for women’s rights to free universal childcare. In 1980 she presented a brief to the Ontario Legislative Committee Hearings into Bill 3 – an Act to Amend the Ontario Employment Standards Act. The brief was entitled “Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value.”

Quinlan, Judith

  • Person

Judith Quinlan is a graduate of the University of Alberta in Edmonton and was on the Student Council (1970) and was part of starting the first Edmonton Women's Centre and the Isis women's shelter while a student. After graduating, she moved to Vancouver and worked on the Pedestal Women's Newspaper. In 1972, she moved to Toronto and worked on The Other Woman newspaper, helped start the Toronto Women's Bookstore, was one of the founders of Cora the Women's Bookmobile, and the Toronto Women's Centre. Judith later wrote for Broadside and worked on the LOOT project. She started the All Girls Hit and Run Feminist Marching Band and joined the Wages for Housework group and started Wages Due Lesbians.

After stepping away from these groups, she wrote poetry and songs (including the Mama Quilla name song) and then moved to rural British Columbia, where she worked with the 100 Mile House Women's Centre, acted as the editor of The Open Door (Rural Lesbians of BC), and got involved in choirs and music teaching. She later moved back to Vancouver and then Victoria where she currently resides.

Andrew, Caroline

  • Person
Caroline Andrew was the co-chair of the Steering Committee for the Women's World Congress held at the University of Ottawa in 2011. She is a full professor at the University of Ottawa School of Political Studies and the Director of the Centre on Governance. She has worked at the University of Ottawa for over 30 years. Caroline Andrew was also the former dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences (1997-2005) and is nationally recognized authority on urban and feminist studies, as well as on cultural diversity. She has degrees from the University of British Columbia, Universite Laval and the University of Toronto.

Cameron, Barbara

  • Person
Barbara Cameron holds a PhD in political science from the University of Toronto. In the 1970s, she was involved in the development of opportunities for women created by the Commission on the Status of Women. She worked for the Ontario Union of Students as an organizer and was also part of a collective of women who created and taught the first women's studies course for credit at the University of Toronto. She is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science and Equity Studies at York University in Toronto. She is also a Research Associate for the Centre for Policy Alternatives and serves on the Executive of York University’s Centre for Feminist Research. She wrote on issues related to gender and public opinion.

Cottam, K. Jean

  • Person
K. Jean Cottam was member of various women's groups. She was involved in the NAC, in Women for Political Action, in the Ontario Committee on the Status of Women.

Desjardins, Lucie

  • Person
Lucie Desjardins was the former Head Archivist at the University of Ottawa Archives and Special Collections.

Baines, Beverley

  • Person
Beverley Baines is a Professor of Public and Constitutional Law at Queen's University, Kingston. Her work focuses on illuminating the legal strategies the patriarchal state deploys in denying women their right to equality, something guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her passion for this issue dates from her work as a feminist constitutional consultant, first to the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women and then to the Ad Hoc Committee of Women on the Constitution during the Charter debates of 1980-1982.Professor Baines earned a BA Hons (Economics and Political Science) from McGill University and a JD from Queen’s University (Kingston, ON.), following which she articled with Trumpour and Kennedy in Kingston. She later joined Queen’s Law as a faculty member, was admitted to the Law Society of Upper Canada, and served as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Law (1994-1997). Seconded twice to the Facultyof Arts and Science at Queen’s, she was Co-Coordinator of the Institute of Women’s Studies (1991-1993) and Head of the Department of Gender Studies (2004-2011).Professor Baines co-edited two books on women and constitutional law: The Gender of Constitutional Jurisprudence (2005) and Feminist Constitutionalism: Global Perspectives (2012). She has published papers and delivered international conference presentations that focus on giving voice to the intersectional claims of religious women living polygamously, accessing faith-based family law arbitrations,and wearing the niqab in Ontario courtrooms or when delivering and receiving public services in Quebec. She also writes about gender and the legal profession, including the Trinity Western law school controversy, United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s call for the appointment of nine women justices on the American Supreme Court, and the history of women law professors in Canada. (Source: Queen's University Website:https://law.queensu.ca/directory/beverley-baines)

Bengtsson, Lisa

  • Canada
  • Person
  • 1951-

Lisa Bengtsson was born in 1951. She grew up in Naikina, Ontario–a single industry rail town. From 1974-2007, Lisa Bengtsson worked for the Secretary of State, Women’s Program, for the Northwestern Ontario district—the region in Ontario bordered by Manitoba, White River, and James Bay.

Lisa Bengtsson delivered human rights-based programs, including the Aboriginal Women’s Program, the Friendship Centre Program, the Voluntary Action Program, and the Disabled Persons Program. In the mid-1990s, she transferred from the Secretary of State to Employment and Immigration. Finally she moved to the Status of Women Canada. Her work focussed on project funding, skill development, organizational development, strategic planning, action research, and advocacy.

Lisa Bengtsson was also a program officer for organizations such as the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses and the Ontario Native Women’s Association. She participated in issue-based partnerships with local Thunder Bay organizations, such as women’s training opportunities, (1992-94), family violence, (1978-85), and women in conflict with the law, (2003-2006).

Lisa Bengtsson undertook a major post audit of family violence funding (1989) and managed the Northwestern Ontario Secretary of State district office, (mid-1980s). She also managed the Women’s Program, Ontario Region, (mid-1990s.) She served on internal committees at the national level concerning the prevention of family violence, (1991-92,1997).

Lisa Bengtsson’s volunteer and professional work were grounded in the Secretary of State mandate, “to increase citizen’s participation in decisions affecting the quality of their lives.” In 2005, Lisa Bengtsson was awarded the Ontario Federal Council Leadership Through Collaboration Award, as a result of her partnership with the Equay Wuk Women’s Group of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

Andrews, Pamela

  • Person
Pamela Andrews donated records she collected to the Women's Archives in 2000.

Nemiroff, Greta Hofmann

  • Person
  • 1937-
Greta Hofmann Nemiroff is a writer, educator, and coordinator of Women’s Studies programs. She was born in 1937 in Montreal to parents who had emigrated from Vienna, Austria to Canada in 1930. She studied at McGill University and graduated in 1958. In 1970 to 1971, Greta Nemiroff and Christine Allen Garside taught a course entitled: “The Nature of Woman: Historic Attitudes and Recent Approaches” at Sir George Williams University (a predecessor to Concordia University) in the Philosophy Department. Nemiroff began teaching at the New School at Dawson College in 1973. She taught English and Humanities and intermittently directed and co-coordinated the New School. She held this post until 1991.
Nemiroff was president of the Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI), an international non-governmental organization, when it moved to Montreal. In 1979, with the help of students and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute community members, she edited the first Simone de Beauvoir Institute Bulletin.
At the end of the 1980s, Greta Nemiroff was a project manager at the Canadian Congress for Learning Opportunities for Women (CCLOW). She was president-elect at the Canadian Women Studies Association (CWSA) for the year 1991-1992. Between 1991 and 1996, she chaired the joint Women’s Studies program at Ottawa University and Carleton University.
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