Elsie MacGill’s life spanned much of the 20th century, and it was a life full of firsts. While she was still a child, Canadian women won the right to vote for the first time. In the 1920s, she was the first woman to graduate in engineering from the University of Toronto and to later earn a Master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Elsie would live to see the first person walk on the moon, and she would become the first woman aircraft designer in the world. Elsie’s twin passions for engineering and feminism drove her throughout her life. They inspired her to work for more than fifty years in her field and to become a tireless advocate for women’s rights. She supported women’s struggles and achievements, enshrining their rights and expanding their opportunities. Elsie’s work during the Second World War on aircraft designs and production made her a popular cartoon character called the “Queen of the Hurricanes.” She continued her achievements into the 1970s as an activist, changing the lives of women in Canada for the better. A truly inspiring woman for the ages.
This book takes us inside the world of sport in Canada. It shines a light on the efforts of a wide range of players, from school girls fighting for the opportunity to play, to politicians and academics defining policy and developing theory. What they have in common is the courage to take chances, make claims and serve as role models. Women’s full physical prowess can threaten assumptions about gender. The struggle to achieve equality in sport has been integral to the feminist mission of the past 50 years. This book contains an inspiring collection of stories from those on the front lines: athletes, coaches, educators, and activists who stuck their necks out to bring about change. To read these stories is to swell with pride over the victories, to empathize with those whose efforts were toppled by discrimination, and to become re-energized to confront collectively the many hurdles left to clear.
Revisiting what her columns chronicled about the second wave of the women's movement in Canada, Michele reflects on the characteristics, successes and failures of this movement over its 50 years. With her trademark blend of kindness, toughness, bluntness and humour, she writes about where we have been and where we should go.