Before the Persons Case of 1929, women weren’t considered Persons.
Officially, they did not belong in the Senate. Women belonged in the kitchen, in makeup, and with the children. That all changed when the Famous 5 bravely demanded that women be considered Persons, making them eligible for all positions of government. Now women legally belong in any role their male counterparts do, but in reality are often underrepresented.
If women belong anywhere, why aren’t they everywhere? Raise your voice to raise the numbers. Let’s show that #WomenBelong.
Connie DeSousa, Restaurant Co-owner and Chef
This Canada’s Top Chef finalist can debone a pig’s head in record time
Connie DeSousa received her Le Cordon Bleu Paris Certification at SAIT in Calgary then got experience from kitchens in Germany, New York, and California before returning to Calgary to open CHARCUT, and then charbar, with co-owner and co-chef John Jackson. For the first few years, when customers asked to see the chef, and she came to their table, they would often say “No, sorry, I asked to see the chef.” Now, people ask for the Executive Chef by name.
Kate Hurley, Infantry Soldier
Only 3.9% of combat soldiers are women, but Kate will tell you she feels no different than anyone else who serves
Kate Hurley has been an infantry reservist, or foot soldier, with the Canadian Armed Forces for four and a half years. Many times throughout her training Kate was one of very few women, but she faced the same obstacles as everyone else, and had to overcome them the same way everyone else did: with mental perseverance, resilience and hard work.
Katrina Holmquist, Firefighter
Finding work physically and emotionally challenging is not a female response, it’s human
The first time the Calgary Fire Department held a recruitment campaign targeting women – who like to be physically challenged, have a fearless attitude, and work well as a team – it caught the eye of international rugby player Katrina Holmquist. Her training began shortly after the birth of her son, making the physical elements more challenging than anticipated, and filling her with self-doubt. When her first call was to a car accident where a young mother lost her child, she feared being a new mom made her too emotionally soft for the job. However, after six years sharing conversations with other firefighters, she has learned that her struggles are not unique to women, they are part of being human.
Chandra Crawford, Olympic Cross Country Skier
The culture around girls in sports had to change, so she founded Fast and Female
A young girl once told Chandra Crawford she didn’t like being a girl, because it meant she didn’t get to do fun things like skateboarding and had to worry about her appearance all the time instead. The Olympic Gold Medalist in cross-country skiing was inspired to pursue her passion for sport by her feminist mother, Louise, and 4-time Olympian ski racer Sara Renner, so she strives to pay it forward and inspire other young girls to find health and happiness through sport.
Dr. Sharron Spicer, Pediatrician
With a nurse and biology teacher for parents, her curiosity in the medical field was always encouraged
Throughout her education and career, Sharron Spicer has had both male and female mentors who modelled compassion, showed dedication and propelled her to excel in her field. She is pleased that, thanks to the women before her and other women like her, the current generation can consider the field of medicine without regard for gender.
Dr. Carmen Brauer, Orthopedic Surgeon
Patient after patient raves about her compassion
Carmen Brauer is an orthopedic surgeon who practices at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She always puts herself in her patients’ shoes to determine the best course of treatment for their needs and lifestyle. When it comes to hospital-firsts, Carmen steps up to the challenge, like in 2013 when she performed the first bone lengthening in an upper extremity in the Alberta Children’s Hospital’s history.
Heather Gallant, Environmental Scientist
Men are assumed to have field experience – women have to prove they have walked the walk
Heather Gallant splits her time between the office and the field, managing the environmental and regulatory division of an oil and gas engineering firm. Her professional journey included shift work at a large oil sands development, where she lived in a 5,000-man camp for 21 days at a time, but she is often assumed not to have this hands-on work experience because of her gender. Once she conveys she has walked the walk, she is treated with respect, despite often being the only woman in meetings.
Sandra Jansen, MLA and Party Leadership Candidate
23 years in journalism taught her the value of using a position of public service to affect social change
Sandra Jansen is the voice for Calgary - North West in provincial matters and the opposition critic in the areas of education, human services and women’s issues. As the former Associate Minister of Family and Community Safety, she released the province’s first domestic violence framework. As a single mom, she understands the importance of a strong social safety net.
Madam Justice Patricia Rowbotham, Judge
To ensure judicial neutrality and impartiality, our justice system needs female voices
Madam Justice Patricia Rowbotham has practiced law at various firms, taught at the University of Calgary, served on the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, and has now been appointed to the Court of Appeal of Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut – the highest court in the province. Despite great progress in the representation of women in law, Patricia still sees room for improvement and takes her role as a mentor to young women seriously. One of her key pieces of advice to young women is that “confidence matters as much as competence”.
Dianne Wilkins, CEO
She will tell you her success comes from always keeping it real
When Dianne Wilkins took a job with Critical Mass at their office in Sweden, the new overseas operation needed a leader, and she quickly rose to the top – despite being the youngest person in most meeting rooms and probably the only female. Soon she became Chief Executive Officer, a position she has now held for 10.5 years, growing the agency from 25 people in Canada to 850 employees around the world. Di advises people to speak up for what they want and remember who they are on the push to the top.
Babita Shroff, Tech Lead
Having female mentors kept her motivated to pursue a career in a male-dominated field
As the Technology Lead for an application development team at Critical Mass, it is Babita’s turn to mentor and motivate others. Her days are a balance of hands-on development and overseeing the work done by the rest of her team. To her, “being a women in the tech industry is awesome”.
Rachel-Jennifer Joson, Stay-at-Home Mother and Role Model
Her list of daily tasks is long, and the impact of her work cannot be underestimated
The most important of Rachel-Jennifer Joson’s many responsibilities is to ensure her children are given quality time every day and are constantly reminded that they are loved and full of potential. She is proud to be raising the future’s leaders.
Alida Visbach, CEO
For 32 years, she has been an advocate for the tourism and hospitality industry in Canada
Since 2005, Alida Visbach has led living history museum Heritage Park through its largest expansion in history. Not only did she double the physical size of the park, she enhanced the education and public programs to attract a wider demographic – including the construction of the Famous 5 Centre of Canadian Women to shine the spotlight on women in Canadian history.