Strong, inspiring women throughout history (or herstory) have contributed to every single aspect of Canadian life – from science to politics to justice, music and sports – the list goes on. In honour of International Women’s Day, here are five inspiring Canadian women that you should know about.
Dr. Jenni Sidey-Gibbons
Not only is Dr. Sidey-Gibbons the Canadian Space Agency’s third female astronaut, but this Calgary native is also Canada’s youngest astronaut! As if becoming a mechanical engineer, combustion scientist and lecturer at Cambridge University wasn’t enough, she graduated from NASA’s intense two-year training program in 2020 and officially became Canada’s 14th astronaut and the third Canadian female astronaut after Roberta Bondar and Julie Payette.
Representation matters – and Lilly Singh’s presence on the late-night comedy scene has made quite the splash with season one of A Little Late with Lilly Singh on NBC. Born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario, Singh began making popular YouTube videos in 2010 which propelled her leap from internet stardom to broadcast TV. Not only is she the first female to host a late-night talk show since Joan Rivers (over 30 years ago!) she’s also the first openly bisexual woman of colour to sit in a host’s chair.
Hockey analyst and broadcaster Leah Hextall made history in 2019 as the first woman to call play-by-play for the men’s NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament for ESPN. She was also part of the first female hockey broadcast to call a professional hockey game for Sportsnet as well as the first-ever all-female nationally televised NHL broadcast in 2020. “Growing up, many of us didn’t see women occupying the space that we will hold during this landmark broadcast,” said Hextall about this year’s NHL broadcast. “Representation matters and I’m proud to join such talented women as we continue to push for progress for women and girls.”
The #1 New York Times bestselling author and illustrator may be best known as an “Instagram poet”, but this 27-year-old artist has made her poetry about love, heartbreak, and femininity a global sensation. Her first collection of poems Milk and Honey sold over a million copies and has been translated into over thirty languages. Her second collection, The Sun and Her Flowers expanded on topics such as love, trauma, migration and her experiences of being a woman. Plus, she lives in Brampton, Ontario.
In 2001, Carinne Chambers-Saini teamed up with her mother, Francine, to develop the DivaCup – a reusable menstrual cup made of 100% medical-grade silicone. Today, it’s the top-selling menstrual cup in the world, sold in +40,000 retail outlets in the US and in 29 countries. DivaCup was built on the philosophy of menstrual equity – lowering barriers to products needed to care for one’s period through education, advocacy, and access. The organization, based in Kitchener, Ontario, affirms that by lifting individuals out of “period poverty”, you empower people to live a life without limits.
Like this story? Subscribe to my newsletter. It’s filled with leadership and business resources for professional women and business builders, just like you.
To your success, in business, in your career, and in life,