Recipients for Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case

    OTTAWA, Oct. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of
Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, is pleased to
announce the names of the recipients of this year's Governor General's Awards
in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The Awards, which honour individuals who
have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of women, will be
presented at Rideau Hall on October 17, the eve of Persons Day.
    "Canadians can be proud of these six extraordinary women," said Minister
Verner. "Recipients of these awards continue the tradition of courage,
integrity, and hard work inspired by the Famous Five in ways that make their
communities better places to live. Canada's New Government is pleased to
recognize those who work tirelessly towards the full participation of women in
the social, economic, and cultural life of Canada."
    The following six women are this year's recipients:

    Dr. Mildred L. Burns, of Montréal, Quebec, has, in her 25 years as a
professor of educational administration at McGill University, worked
tirelessly to inspire students and to promote women's full participation in
senior educational roles. An inspired leader and mentor, Dr. Burns continues
her participation in the Delta Kappa Gamma Society to ensure that women have
access to the range of educational programs and the support they need to reach
their full potential.

    Elaine Hémond, of Québec City, Quebec, is a leader and a devoted advocate
for women's equitable representation in government. Ms. Hémond has, for almost
10 years, instilled her passion in Femmes, politique et démocratie, an
organization dedicated to citizenship and democratic involvement. Ms. Hémond
is also an award-winning video producer. Her work has had a significant and
lasting impact on the lives of Quebec women and men, as well as on Canadian
politics at all levels.

    Shari Graydon, of Kingston, Ontario, is a tireless advocate for social
justice, a passionate teacher, and a prolific writer on the topic of women and
the media. From 1992 to 2000, she served as President of MediaWatch, Canada's
foremost proponent for the advancement of women in the media, using her
leadership skills, sense of humour, and communications expertise to promote
awareness of media sexism and its impact. Ms. Graydon initiated the Annual
Persons Day Reception on Parliament Hill.

    Wendy J. Robbins, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, is a pioneer in the
field of women's studies. A distinguished academic with a long list of
accomplishments, she started publishing feminist literary criticism in the
1970s and co-founded the University of New Brunswick's Women's Studies
Interdisciplinary Program in 1986. Dr. Robbins also co-founded PAR-L, one of
the world's first online feminist discussion lists. She compiles the annual
Ivory Towers: Feminist and Equity Audits.

    Muriel Smith, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has worked tirelessly to bring about
women's full participation in Canadian society. An inspired teacher and
mentor, Ms. Smith was elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1981 and went on
to become the first woman in Canada to be named Deputy Premier. She ushered in
the first pay-equity legislation in Canada and helped establish a network of
women's shelters and a zero-tolerance domestic violence policy in the judicial

    Youth Award recipient, Viviana Astudillo-Clavijo, of Toronto, Ontario, is
a devoted community volunteer, inspired mentor, and gifted artist whose work
addresses the challenges facing girls and young women in today's society. A
passionate student advocate, Ms. Astudillo-Clavijo is described as both humble
and wise beyond her years.

    The Persons Case is a significant historical landmark in the fight for
equality by Canadian women. In 1929, five Canadian women-Emily Murphy,
Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung, who
became known as The Famous Five-fought and won the right for women to be
recognized as persons and, therefore, eligible to sit in the Senate. The
Government of Canada established the Governor General's Awards in
Commemoration of the Persons Case, in 1979, to celebrate the 50th anniversary
of the Persons Case decision and to salute contributions to the advancement of
women. Every year, Persons Day is celebrated on October 18, and the Awards are
presented to recipients on or around that date.
    An official call for nominations for the Governor General's Awards in
Commemoration of the Persons Case is made every spring. Nomination forms and
brochures outlining selection criteria are always available on Status of Women
Canada's website. Nominations may be submitted at any time and will be
considered at the annual Selection Committee meeting, held in late summer.

    Status of Women Canada is a federal government agency working to promote
the full participation of women in the economic, social, and cultural life of
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    Ce texte est également disponible en français.

For further information:

For further information: Richard Walker, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of Canadian Heritage, Status of Women and Official Languages, (819)
994-5978; Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director, Communications, Status of Women Canada,
(613) 995-7839; (This release is also available on the Status of Women Canada

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