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Women's History Month

Every year the Montreal Council of Women celebrates Women's History Month with a special event.

2011: View some photos of our Women's History Month celebrations on October 6, 2011: MCW Celebration of Women's History Month

On October 6, 2011, the Montreal Council of Women celebrated Women's History Month. The Honorable Lucie Pépin, MCW's Honorary President, opened the afternoon's activities with a delightful account about why October has been designated for Women. Following this, Monique Beaupré-Lazure, Regional Manager of Ovarian Cancer Canada, and Joanna Verthuy showed a very informative film about Ovarian Cancer. The highlight of the afternoon was a presentation by our guest speaker, Elizabeth Kirkland, a faculty member of Dawson, called "Silent Prayer, Delegations and Citizenship: The Early Years of the Montreal Council of Women". She talked about some of the fascinating women, in particular Lady Aberdeen (founder) and Lady Drummond (first President), who launched MCW in 1893 into becoming a strong advocacy group for addressing women's issues in our community. Finally, a toast to women was made by Mair Verthuy, retired Distinguished Full Professor Emerita of Concordia University, first Principal and founding member of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute and one of MCW's vivacious Councillors. Refreshments were served at the end of a delightful afternoon.

2010: View some photos of our Women's History Month celebrations on October 7, 2010: MCW Celebration of Women's History Month.

On October 7, 2010 the MCW members turned up in trumps to celebrate Women. The Coloured Women's Club gave an excellent video presentation of the contributions made by a number of Coloured Women to the History of Canada. Not all such women were named; we would all have been there a lot longer if Shirley Gyles and Hélène Wavroch had decided to make a complete survey! The audience was very responsive; many Coloured women present were pleased to see their own history recognized as an important and essential part of Canadian history. The non-Coloured women were extremely happy to discover the interesting role of our Black compatriots.

After the presentation and a short question period, we moved on to the Persons Awards. These are awards attributed every year since 1979 to five women across Canada for their dedication to the advancement of women. They actually celebrate the year 1929, which saw the culmination of a decade of battle for the recognition of women as Persons, a recognition that would allow them to be appointed to the Canadian Senate. The five Albertan women who led this fight are generally called the Famous Five; although very little, if anything, is taught about them, they played an essential role in our history. Of the numerous women who have received this Persons Award, many have left us (for a better world). One of our members, former Mayor Vera Danyluk of TMR passed away recently. Those who remain on the list were not all easy to find. Others, once found could not all attend. Elaine Hémond was in Niger working with women there; Nicole Demers was in the Federal Parliament; Dr. Margaret Gillett could not attend. There were four Person in attendance: Mildred Burns, Karen Messing, Charlotte Thibault (MCW Honorary Councillor) and Maïr Verthuy.

Finally we moved on to all the other members who had won different kinds of awards. We were pleased to salute the following members of the Order of Canada: Dorothy Wills, Sheila Goldbloom, Eva Prager who had died earlier in the year and Amy Williams who died in 1970. We ended the list with Caring Canadians: Eleanor Beattie, Mary Campbell, Marion Grandin and the late Bill Grandin, Barbara Whitley and a Municpal Award for Pauline Wong and Xixi Li of the Chinese Centre of Montreal.

It was an enchanting afternoon; a feeling of warmth and a sense of fun permeated our meeting room. The little glasses of wine with some savouries, raised as toasts to all women, did much to round off our activities in a mellow atmosphere. We must always be proud of our achievements as women and work to see more recognition given to so many among us who deserve these and other awards.

Maïr Verthuy, Secretary, MCW and Moderator of Event

2009: Below read about how we celebrated Women's History Month on October 21, 2009.

MCW's Very Own Famous Five

Left to right. Sheila Goldbloom, representative for Dr. Dorothy Abike Wills, Jeanne Maranda, Charlotte Thibault and The Honourable Lucie Pepin.

"MCW’s Very Own Famous Five" Event - October 21, 2009

On October 21, 2009 The MCW celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Famous Five (see program). To mark this special anniversary the Montreal Council of Women has created the “MCW’s very own Famous Five