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  • Writer's pictureMyrna Driedger

150 Manitoba Trailblazers

Published in Lifestyles 55+

In Manitoba we stand on the shoulders of giants. So many have come before us and so many have accomplished great things. I especially note the many dynamic women in our history. I am grateful to those strong women who have paved the way for people like me and made it possible for me to take they journey I have.

Who are these women? There are names that many Manitobans would recognize. Nellie McClung, Edith Rogers- Manitoba’s first female MLA elected to the Legislature, Thelma Forbes- the first female Speaker of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly. Of course, many of the Trailblazers I note are involved in politics but the trailblazers we have here in Manitoba are not just politically affiliated. There are many others who add to this intricate tapestry of forward thinking, pioneering women here in Manitoba.

That is why the Nellie McClung Foundation works hard to promote women through honouring the legacy of those who have paved the way, educating Manitobans about the many great successes in our history, and celebrating the successes of the women around us. For this reason we have initiated our In Conversation with a Trailblazer series. We want to make sure that while we recognize the many great women in our past, we are also recognizing the many great women in our present. Our Trailblazer Speaker’s Series kicked off this past year in September, 2018 with the formidable former Mayor Susan Thompson. The event was sold out and a major success. Not only is Her Worship, Mayor Thompson, Winnipeg’s first female mayor, but she is currently the only woman to serve as Mayor of our great city. Mayor Thompson truly is a trailblazer.

Our next Conversation with a Trailblazer featured Judge Kimberly Prost. Judge Prost has had an impressive career having worked within the Canadian Department of Justice, was the Director of the International Assistance Group for Canada, has held managerial positions with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, was the first Ombudsperson for the Security Council Al Qaida Sanctions Committee, served as Chef de Cabinet for the President of the International Criminal Court, and now sits as an elected judge of the International Criminal Court. This event took place at her Alma Matter, St. Mary’s Academy. Judge Prost spent the day with students at St. Mary’s Academy inspiring a future generation of leaders. Stay tuned for our next In Conversation with a Trailblazer.

The Nellie McClung Foundation in partnership with the Winnipeg Free Press is happy to present its latest initiative, The 150 Women Trailblazers Award. We’re so excited to celebrate 150 Manitoba women both from our past as well as contemporary Manitobans in our present. Nominations are now open and will remain open until November 29, 2019.

The 150 Women Trailblazers Award is for women who have contributed greatly to a variety of spheres including social justice, arts, sports, politics, community activities, and democracy.

As noted in the Winnipeg Free Press, an eligible awardee:

· A woman, or collective of women, who have contributed to Manitoba

· Worked or volunteered or played a role that was the first in their field or had a significant impact or outcome on society in MB

· Demonstrated leadership and acted as a role model

· Reflected the spirit of Nellie McClung

· Worked/lived for a significant part of their lives in the territory that is now called Manitoba (please verify this in the application)

· Nominee (if alive) must agree to nomination

Please think of the amazing women that you know personally or that you know of. We must encourage our hard working and pioneering Manitoba women who have achieved great things by thinking outside of the box. This recognition is well deserved and will lead to the next generation of leaders to take up the mantle.

This recognition is something that I have believed in for many years. Girls and women need to have the ability to see women in various roles in order for them imagine themselves in those same roles. It was this that led me to install in the Manitoba Legislature a permanent exhibit that features the Manitoba Legislative Assembly Trailblazers of the First One Hundred Years. I championed this cause so that women and girls could see that there is a place for them under this dome. And that’s what these Nellie Trailblazers awards will do- show women and girls that there are places for them at the top in a variety of industries and to show them the women who have come before and who are currently pioneers. The work to recognize and celebrate more women leaders in all walks of life is not yet done. It is work that we must continue to promote and champion for years to come.

Award recipients will be honoured at Manitoba’s 150th anniversary celebrations. A fitting time to reflect on the many accomplishments of Manitoba women!


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