We want women leaders today as never before. Leaders who are not afraid to be called names and who are willing to go out and fight. I think women can save civilization. Women are persons.

-Emily Murphy, 1931

Emily Murphy and four other determined women took their fight to be legally declared persons all the way to the Privy Council in Britain, and in 1929 they won. Almost eight decades later, Canadian women continue to challenge their limits.

Great Canadian Women honours the legacy and continuing struggle of women of talent and courage who, from all walks of life and vocations, have contributed significantly to Canada’s evolution. These women and countless others have ignored or conquered society’s strictures to fulfil their destinies and change forever their country:

• Marion Orr, who ferried fighter planes to England during World War II and established flight schools in Ontario

• Louise Arbour, the controversial Supreme Court Justice who was appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2004

• Anne Murray, known as Canada’s Songbird and the first Canadian artist to have an American gold record

• Barbara Frum, the dedicated newscaster and journalist for CBC Radio who pioneered the popular and influential current affairs program As It Happens

• Rene Caisse, inventor of Essiac, a herbal remedy that has been touted as a cure for cancer

• Helen Huston, a medical missionary who brought health care and a hospital to the people of Nepal

• Charlotte Whitton, the brash and colourful mayor of Ottawa; the first woman to hold such an office in Canada

• Canadian Voice of Women for Peace, a national organization that promotes peace and disarmament to the international community.

And many more…