International Women’s Day is here and whether it be a guardian, a friend, a teacher, a boss, a sibling, or an artist – there is no shortage of incredible people to celebrate. This year, in honour of March 8th and Canada’s many trailblazers, here are 10 Women from Alberta who made a difference, paved the way, or fought for equality – because many wouldn’t be where they are today without them!

Nellie McClung 

An author, advocate, teacher and legislator, Nellie McClung is considered Canada’s most famous suffragist. A member of the famous five, she challenged the British North American Act and fought to declare women ‘persons’ rather than property under the law. In addition, she urged the government of BC to extend the vote to Japanese Canadians, petitioned the Canadian Government to open itself up to Jewish refugees in the 1930s, and often wrote about the need for equal pay and equal work.

Muriel Stanley Venne

Born in Lamont, Alberta, Muriel Stanley Venne is a champion of human rights and social justice. Recognized by The Alberta Order of Excellence (AOE), Muriel changed how Canadian law and criminal justice systems respond to systemic violence against Indigenous women and continues to fight for equality even today.

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Violet King

A University of Alberta graduate born in Calgary, Violet King spent her entire career breaking glass ceilings. Not only was she the first Black Canadian to obtain a law degree and be admitted to the bar in Alberta, but she was also the first Black woman to become a lawyer in Canada.

Bertha Clark-Jones

The fifth of 14 children in a Cree-Métis family, Berta Clark-Jones was an advocate, a veteran of the Second World War and the co-founder and first president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Having fought for equality her entire life, Clark-Jones received the Golden Jubilee Medal, a lifetime achievement award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and the Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Virnetta Anderson 

The co-founder and president of Calgary’s Meals on Wheels program, Virnetta Anderson was a community activist and trailblazer. Not only was she a member of the Mount Royal College Ladies’ Auxiliary, but she also volunteered as a board member for several organizations including the United Way, Calgary Tourist and Convention Association and the Calgary Centre for the Performing Arts.

Most notably, however, she was also the first Black woman to serve on the City Council challenging a male-dominated board at the age of 54.

And there you have it! 10 iconic women from Alberta who made history. Happy International Women’s Day and keep being amazing!