Canadians recognized by Governor General for advancing gender equality

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women, announced the six outstanding Canadian women who are receiving the Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case for 2016. They are:

Cecilia Benoit (Victoria, BC) - Academic, mentor, advocate
Anna-Louise Crago (Toronto, ON) - Academic, women's rights advocate
Lucia Lorenzi (youth recipient) (Port Coquitlam, BC) - Activist, volunteer, educator and advocate
Pascale Navarro (Montréal, QC) – Journalist and author
Norma Jean Profitt (Yarmouth, NS) – Academic, community leader, international activist
Diane Redsky (Winnipeg, MB) – Community leader, advocate for Indigenous women's rights

Persons Day occurs each year on October 18th. This annual celebration marks the pivotal moment in 1929 when five Canadian women – Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung – won the right for women to be legally recognized as 'persons' in Canada. The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case were created in 1979 to mark the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Persons Case.

Quick Facts

  • This year's Persons Case Awards will take place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on November 15, 2016, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of women first achieving the right to vote in Manitoba in 1916.
  • Saskatchewan and Alberta followed Manitoba granting women the right to vote in 1916. Ontario extended voting rights to women in 1917. By 1918, federal legislation was passed granting all women 21 years of age and over the right to vote in general elections. The first federal election in which women voted under the universal franchise was in 1921.
  • This year's recipients are being announced during Women's History Month, a time each year when Canadians celebrate women's contributions to our country. This year's theme "Because of Her" reminds us of the extraordinary women who have blazed trails throughout Canada's history.
  • A video entitled "Women. Are. Persons." can be viewed at women.gc.ca describing the Famous Five and the Persons Case, which paved the way for women to participate more fully in all aspects of Canadian life.

The women we honour today with the Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case are strong leaders and inspiring role models. As professionals, volunteers, and advocates, they have demonstrated how people with passion and commitment can change the lives of women and girls for the better. I congratulate each 2016 award recipient for embodying the determined spirit of the Famous Five and helping to advance equality in our country.
— The Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P. Minister of Status of Women