Showing 145 results

Authority record

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.

Nelson, Lou

  • Person
  • 1953-

Patricia Lucille Nelson was born in Montreal in 1953. Although her mother was from Alberta and her father from British Columbia, Nelson and her four siblings grew up in Laval West and St-Eustache (Québec). She studied the humanities and languages at Vanier College in Saint-Laurent, printing at Ahuntsic College in Montreal and worked at Classic Books before moving to British Columbia in 1974.

Nelson quickly settled in Vancouver and started working in a screen printing shop in Burnaby. She lived in a coop house and, in 1975, she joined Press Gang. Here she worked on a voluntary basis and became a press operator. This is also the time when she came out as a lesbian and decided to informally change her name to Lou, a shortened version of her middle name, in honor of the occasion. It is also when she became involved more actively in the feminist, socialist and unionist movement that prevailed in Vancouver in those years. For example, she joined the NDP in September 1974. The following year, she participated in the occupation of the Vancouver Canada Manpower Centre Office to pressure the Canadian Government to make real changes regarding women and work. She worked at and supported Press Gang by involving herself in numerous fundraising activities and helped organize the 1979 Conference on Women and Work. “In order to sustain herself”, she ran Simon Fraser University Student Society’s print shop for four years. While working at SFU, she also got involved with the feminist union Service Office and Retail Workers Union (SORWUC).

In 1983, she moved back to Montreal where she entered the Translation Program at Concordia University. During her studies there, she worked part time at Concordia’s student society print shop. She graduated in 1987 and became a freelance translator. Still loyal to her feminist beliefs in this new profession, she translated works from Anne-Marie Alonzo, Nicole Brossard, Louise Dupré and Monique Bégin.

Nelson’s love of words goes a long way back. For instance, she kept diaries for years. In 1978, she even wrote in one of them that she would like to become a fiction writer by age 35. Part of her diary was also published in the anthology Our lives, Lesbian Personal Writings (Second Story Press, 1991). She was actively involved with an organization called Women and Words throughout the 1980’s.

Lou Nelson left her last lesbian partner in 1989. She now lives with her husband in southern Québec and works as a freelance translator, with plans to retire in 2022.

Nellie Langford Rowell Library collection

  • Corporate body
  • 1969-
The Nellie Langford Rowell Library began its existence in 1969 with the collections of documents by the radical feminist group Toronto New Feminists. This group disbanded in 1973 and its library collection was moved the Women's Place on Dupont Street in Toronto. Afterwards, the collection was handed over to the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) of Metropolitan Toronto on Birth Street.
Upon Birch Street's Y's closure, the documents were put in storage. Joanna Stuckley, the library's first organizer, a faculty member and an advisor to the President on the Status of Women at York's University, was able to arrange for the library to be moved to York University as the York-YWCA Collection. York University has provided a budget to cover one third of its library expenses. In 1985, 1987 and 1994, a donation by Mary Coyne Rowell, through the Jackman Foundation, enabled Founder's College to establish the library on a permanent basis. The library was renamed to honour Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman's mother, Nellie Langford Rowell.

National Association of Women and the Law

  • Corporate body
  • 1974-
The National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) is a Canadian non-profit feminist organization that has worked to improve the legal status of women in Canada through law reform since 1974.
In 1974, NAWL was created at a conference held at the University of Windsor law school. NAWL was initially headed by the National Coordinating Committee based out of the University of Ottawa Law School, Common Law Section, then later governed by a regionally representative National Steering Committee that acts as a Board of Directors and is elected by the membership. Since then, NAWL has used its unique research as a foundation for effective action and advocacy. Through its educational work, NAWL has played a vital role in raising public awareness about legal issues affecting women. NAWL has played a major role in the following milestones towards women's equality: Sections 15 and 28 in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; the amendments to the sexual assault laws; positive changes to family law and to the divorce act; rape shield legislation; criminal harassment legislation.

National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC)

  • Corporate body
  • 1971-[2010]

The National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) was an umbrella organization for women’s groups and groups that supported women’s issues in Canada.
In 1970, commissioned by the federal government and chaired by Florence Bird, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women (RCSW) released a report which recognized women’s subordinate place in Canadian Society. The report contained 167 recommendations to strengthen women’s position in Canada. In 1971, the National Ad Hoc Committee on the Status of Women was formed by a group of women determined to see these recommendations implemented in the Canadian Society. Further, they proposed that this large organization would form committees to address key matters of concern, lobby the government for legislative changes and raise public awareness about women’s issues. During the Strategy for Change conference led by Laura Sabia in Toronto in 1972, it was decided that « Ad Hoc » should be dropped from the name, thus the organization became known as the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. Initially, the first thirty groups that made up NAC were mostly based in Toronto, but over time, the number of member groups increased dramatically and represented more of Canada. In fact, in 1977 NAC had approximately 120 member groups registered, 576 groups in 1988, and around 600 in 1996. Membership was diverse in class and politics: “They included many older national women’s organizations, business and professional women, unions, YWCAs, service organizations such as women’s shelters and rape crisis centres, immigrant women’s caucuses in various mixed groups and political parties.” (Rise Up!). The organization became officially bilingual in 1976.

NAC’s structure remained consistent and was volunteer based. NAC was led by an elected president and supported by a number of elected vice presidents, regional representatives and member groups. Approximately every two years there was an election for a new presidential candidate. Over the years, each NAC president brought her own talents, perspective and leadership direction to the organization. Typically, each president served a two-year term, beginning with Lauria Sabia. Subsequent presidents were Grace Hartman, Lorna Marsden, Kay Macpherson, Lynn McDonald, Jean Wood, Doris Anderson, Chavia Hosek, Louise Delude, Lynn Kaye, Judy Rebick, Sunera Thobani, and Joan Grant-Cummings.
Along with the president, the vice-presidents and regional representatives from the NAC Executive made decisions about hiring and office practices and acted as liaisons to member groups. The Executive met throughout the year to provide continuity and direction. NAC was organized in several committees which focused on particular issues including employment, pensions and income security; social services (including child care); violence against women; health and reproductive rights; pornography; visible minority and immigrant women; native women, etc.

. Each year an annual general meeting was held in order to communicate with member groups, assess strategies, plan for actions and campaigns and form committees to effectively organize their voices. Each member group had the opportunity to send a representative to the meeting who could vote on proposed amendments to the Constitution or any motion that was brought forward. Committees responded to issues in their jurisdiction as they arose. Members had the opportunity to join committees, which met during the year, planning and organizing campaigns and report to the AGM.

In order to reach the many member groups, NAC published short newsletters that highlighted current issues and pertinent events. The publication was first called Status of Women News (1973-1985), commonly referred to as Status, and evolved into Memo. The publication became Feminist Action Feministe (1985), and finally Action Now (1990).

The first NAC office was located in Toronto, but as NAC’s membership grew larger and it received more funding from the government, it was decided to open an Ottawa office. Unfortunately, it became expensive to have two offices and therefore in 1995, it was decided that the Ottawa bureau would have to close down. The NAC Toronto office changed location, size and personnel, reflecting financial and organizational pressures.

Funding for NAC was inconsistent, depending on [changing?] federal government policy. The government funding allowed NAC to develop an infrastructure that permitted active but costly participation from the regions (women from every province and territory flew in on a monthly basis for meetings and working committees). There was, however, always a debate in NAC about whether to accept money from the government. On the one hand, it was argued that women pay taxes and have a right to have tax money redistributed to promote their aims and rights. On the other hand, it was argued that NAC needed to be fully independent so that the government could not pull the plug on their movement. NAC did, however, rely heavily on federal funding, which was problematic during its last years of existence. NAC’s core funding from the government was cut in half in 1988, which made membership fees and fundraising campaigns essential to NAC’s survival. By the 2000s, NAC was slowly becoming a less relevant feminist political advocate and has since completely disappeared from Canadian politics (Collier, Cheryl, p.17).

NAC, in its heyday, was instrumental in bringing women’s issues to the forefront of public discussion. NAC identified four issues as priorities when it began in 1972: the right to abortion, childcare, getting coverage for homemakers in the Canada Pension Plan and equal pay. By 1975, International Women’s Year broadened to equal pay for work of equal value, universal childcare, birth control accessibility, the right to abortion services, Family Law Reform, pension rights for homemakers and native women’s rights. During the 1984 Election, NAC’s efforts secured an unprecedented nationally televised debate on women’s issues. Also in the early 1980's, in reaction to the cutbacks from the Conservative’s federal budget, the Back On Track Campaign encouraged women to voice their disapproval with these detrimental moves to cut funding to essential groups. As well, NAC was vocal in lobbying for legislative and social change including Section 32 (b) of the Indian Act, changes to the Constitution in 1982, and equal pay for work of equal value. Other significant committees were formed and worked on issues like Survival of the Planet, Lesbian Rights, Justice, Immigrant and Visible Minority Women. When under the Immigration Act, domestics, many from Jamaica, were being deported after losing their jobs, NAC fought successfully to stop the deportations. NAC’s members’ efforts were successful also to get, improve and maintain unemployment insurance for women, and maternity and parental benefits as well as to lead the way in developing a coalition to fight free trade. NAC also supported several breakthrough legal cases, including that of Bonnie Robichaud on her complaint of sexual harassment. Bonnie Robichaud’s victory in finding the employer liable for harassment opened the door for many women to complain. NAC also supported Mary Pitawanakwat on her complaint about discrimination on the basis of race in the Secretary of State. It played a significant role in supporting her victory to be reinstated in her position. The beginning of the 90’s was marked by the case of Chantal Daigle and the Ecole Polytechnique Massacre.

Although NAC was not immune to controversy, or internal struggles, it managed to successfully represent hundreds of women’s groups in Canada. NAC became an important voice for women’s groups in Canada in the 70s into the 90s, and played an important role in raising awareness and effecting positive changes for women in Canada. NAC ceased existance in the late 2000s.

Nancy Ruth

  • Person
  • 1942-

The Honourable Nancy Ruth, CM, LLD, is a feminist, social activist and feminist philanthropist. She worked for the United Church of Canada from 1963-1986 as well as in various church organizations. From 2005 to 2017, she served as an Ontario Senator in the Senate of Canada.

Born in Toronto on 6 January 1942, and christened Nancy Ruth Jackman, she chooses to be called Nancy Ruth as a single name in 1994, the day her mother died. She is the daughter of Mary Coyne Rowell Jackman, known for her support of Canadian art, craft, culture, and early childhood education, and Harry Jackman, former MP (1940-1949) and financier. She is the granddaughter of Nellie Langford Rowell, a pioneering advocate for women, children and the poor, and Newton Wesley Rowell, former MPP, MP and Ontario Liberal Party leader.
Her paternal grandfather, Henry B. Jackman, rose in the ranks of The Taylor [Chubb] Safe Company, while her paternal grandmother, Sara Ann, did church and volunteer work.

A United Church Minister by training and an activist by choice, Nancy Ruth is a leading advocate of the incorporation of Canada’s constitutional equality rights into Canadian public policy and institutions. She co-founded, and served as a director and officer of organizations devoted to achieving full civil, legal, economic, political, and cultural rights for women and girls in all their diversity, including:
• CREF-Charter of Rights Educational Fund and CORC-Charter of Rights Coalition
• The 1981 Ad Hoc Committee of Canadian Women on the Constitution
• LEAF-Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund/Fonds d’action et d’éducation juridiques pours les femmes.
• CWF- Canadian Women’s Foundation/ Fondation Canadienne pours les femmes
• The Linden School
• Nancy’s Very Own Foundation, which focuses on poverty, violence, health and peace
• Women’s Future Fund/ Les Fonds pour l’avenir des femmes
•, an online women's’ history site.
• Play Fair – a film about women in sport
• – a site dedicated to making O Canada (Canada’s national anthem) gender-neutral

Nancy Ruth has served on the Board of Directors of the Economic Council of Canada, the Canadian Centre for Arms Control, the Canada-USA Fulbright Foundation, The Doctor's Hospital Foundation, Mount Saint Vincent University, the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, and the Paralympic Foundation.

As a Senator, she successfully advocated for the addition of sex, age and disability to Canada’s Criminal Code provisions on hate propaganda; improved gender-based analysis for all federal policies and programs; access to medically assisted dying; and, the 2018 restoration of a gender-neutral English national anthem.

As a businesswoman, she has been involved with residential land development and environmental products.

Nancy Ruth ran as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the 1990 Ontario election and in a 1993 Ontario by-election. In 1993, she represented Canada at the UN elections in Cambodia.

Nancy Ruth has made significant donations to various feminist educational, health, cultural, museum and archival activities.

Nancy Ruth’s contributions to social change have been recognized nationally and internationally. She was awarded the Order of Canada (1994); the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Person's Case (1997); the Augusta Stowe Gullen Medal (2014); the Government of Ontario’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Human Rights (1998); the Toronto YWCA Women of Distinction Award (1988); the Hero Award, Metropolitan Community Church, Toronto (2000); the South African Women for Women Friendship Award (2004); and the Charles Sauriol Greenspace Award (2007). She served as a Fellow of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University, Montreal, (1991). She holds honorary degrees from York, Trent, Laurentian and Mount Saint Vincent Universities.

Mothers Are Women

  • Corporate body
  • 1984-1995
Mothers Are Women (MAW) was a national, Ottawa-based feminist organization established in September 1984 by Maureen Kellerman, as a special project of the Parent Preschool Resource Centre. It evolved into an independent and volunteer-run organization, partially funded by Secretary of State funding. MAW members respected all childcare choices but they were especially concerned with the interests of women who chose to stay at home with their children. They identified that this choice was undervalued by society at the time so they offered personal support as well as lobbying for greater recognition of stay at home mothers. They had support groups, a telephone helpline (the MAW line), workshops, and circulated a publication called Homebase. At their height, they had 450 members representing every province and territory of Canada.

Morris Kates

  • Person
  • 1923-2013
Morris Kates was born in Galati, Romania, in 1923. He came to Canada with his parents in 1924 and grew up in Toronto. He began his musical studies with violin lessons at the age of eleven and began composing music at sixteen. He discovered both science and music about the same time in High school. He studied music harmony, counterpoint, and composition as a hobby, along with his studies in science (physics, chemistry, and biochemistry) at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1948.
From 1950 until 1968 he worked at the National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, first as a post-doctoral fellow and then as a research scientist. In 1968, he was appointed Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa, and in 1989 he retired as Professor Emeritus. He was renowned in the field of biochemistry for his discovery of the isopranyl glycerol diether lipids of Halobacterium and other members of the Halobacteriaceae. Among biochemists, Morris Kates is also best known for his textbook ‘Techniques in Lipidiology’ (1972, revised in 2010). Altogether Morris wrote about 250 scientific papers on lipid biochemistry and lipid metabolism. He received the Excellence in Research Award (1981), the Supelco Award for lipid research from the American Oil Chemist Society (1984) and was nominated as Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1973).
Lipid biochemistry was one field in which Morris Kates was famous, music was the second. He published more than 20 compositions that include orchestral works, chamber music, choral works, and more. He showed an interest in his compositions in Impressionism, twelve-tone technique, neoclassicism, and more recently, Renaissance music. His major works are: Variations for Strings (1964), Symphonia for Strings (1967), Sonata for Cello and Piano (1973), Piano Trio “Hommage à Einstein” (1979), Elegiac Variations for Solo ‘Cello (1984), Woodwind Quintet (1988), Sonata for Double Bass and Piano (1989), and Festine Suite (1990). The first two of these compositions won him the CBC (Ottawa) Music Award for 1965 and 1967, respectively. Variations for Strings and Festive Suite have been performed by the University of Ottawa Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Currie. He was an Associate Composer with the Canadian Music Centre and a member of the Canadian League of Composers.

Montreal Women's Network

  • Corporate body
  • 1979-1993
The Montreal Women's Network incorporated women's groups and educational organizations who were dedicated to increasing learning opportunities for women in the Montreal region. Established in 1979, the Network sought to link women who were already active in their local communities and to provide them with formal and informal learning opportunities. The common aim was to help women to help themselves, to increase their options both within and outside the home, and to help them make choices about their future. They published a bi-monthly newsletter, publicity flyer, and organized regular programs and activities.

Montreal Health Press

  • Canada
  • Corporate body
  • 1968-[2001]

The Montreal Health Press–les Presses de la Santé de Montréal–was a feminist, non-profit collective that published affordable print booklets, in French and English, on sexuality and sexual health, for over 30 years. The organization provided affordable and accessible handbooks on issues surrounding birth control, contraception, child birth, sexual orientation, sexually transmitted diseases and menopause.

The organization officially became a women’s collective in 1972, although the collective originated in 1968 when members of the McGill University student body produced and distributed the “Birth Control Handbook.” Two of these student publishers, Donna Cherniak and Allan Feingold, became founding members of the Montreal Health Press.

The organization's administrative style was informal, with annual May meetings held at members’ kitchen tables. One individual was appointed chief coordinator for each publication and members volunteered to contribute their expertise as medical doctors, social scientists, photographers etc. Each handbook was continually re-published with updated medical information.

During the 1970s, a million copies of the “Birth Control Handbook” were distributed. The first handbooks were followed by the “VD Handbook,” in 1973, “A Book about Sexual Assault,” in 1979, and “A Book about Menopause” in 1988, as well as their French-language equivalents. The publications favoured clear and non-judgmental language along with detailed medical diagrams and black and white photographs.

By the 1990s, sales were greatly diminished, due in part to the proliferation of self-help books and to the availability of online content. The collective closed permanently by 2001. During its more than 30-year history, the Montreal Health Press had distributed over 15 million copies of its books and handbooks.

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