By Jillian Cung, March 24 2022—
March is Women’s History Month. Let’s celebrate some amazing Calgarian women in our community for their contributions to the arts, athletics and activism.
Corri-Lynn Tetz is a Calgary-born artist who had an exhibit, “Art Lover”, at Contemporary Calgary showcased from November 2021–January 2022. “Art Lover” depicts female figures to explore femininity by referencing photographs of women that appeared in men’s magazines, such as Playboy and Penthouse.
As Tetz paints the photographs from her own perspective, it removes the objectifying nature of the original photographs — taken by male photographers. Essentially, she shifts what we can presume is the male gaze on women to her own. Her perspective focuses on the experiences of the subjects rather than their objectification. Tetz’s exploration of femininity illustrates how women can exist for themselves rather than being bound to the male gaze.
Tegan and Sara Quin are a Pop duo who have contributed to the music industry with hits such as “Where Does the Good Go” in 2004 and “Closer’’ in 2013. Since their early beginnings in 1988, Calgary, they have openly identified as queer. Notably, their music career has led to them contributing to various soundtracks such as The Lego Movie’s “Everything Is Awesome.”
Although they are predominantly known for their music endeavours, they are also feminists who advocate for LGBTQ+ equality. The duo created the Tegan and Sara foundation “to dismantle the systems of inequity that prevent LGBTQ+ girls and women from reaching their full potential.” The Quin duo is an important feminist-queer voice in the Calgary community and in the music industry.
Catriona Le May Doan is a retired speed skater and the current Chef de Mission for Team Canada in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, and currently resides in Calgary. She holds three Olympic medals. The first medals were won at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the 1000m long track and a gold medal in the 500m long track speed skating events. Le May Doan won her final gold medal in the 500m long track at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics making her the first Canadian to defend her title as a gold medalist in an individual event.
The retired speed skater has dedicated herself to assisting Team Canada at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics as a Lead Athlete Mentor and the 2022 Beijing Olympics as the Chef de Mission. Le May Doan acts as a leader, spokesperson and motivator for Team Canada. Overall, she is Team Canada’s biggest cheerleader at the Olympics as she provides athletes with endless support on the world stage.
Taylor McNallie is an anti-racism advocate and the co-founder of Inclusive Canada. Inclusive Canada is an organization that advocates for equality for marginalized groups with a focus on the BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ communities. McNallie has been a strong voice in the Black Lives Matter movement in Calgary and across Alberta.
Through her social media platforms, she opens up important dialogues regarding how the systems and institutions in place continue to result in police brutality and the mistreatment of the BIPOC community. Furthermore, McNallie attends protests to dismantle the systems and institutions that bring distress, suffering and grief to marginalized communities — McNallie is a vital voice when opening dialogues about racism in Calgary.
Doreen Spence is an Indigenous Rights activist, Cree Elder and retired nurse — who resides in Calgary. Spence earned her Practical Nursing Certificate in 1959, making her among the first Indigenous women to receive one. For 20-years, she acted as a committee member assisting in the draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Also, she helped develop the Calgary Urban Aboriginal Initiative, which aims to provide Calgary with conversations and solutions surrounding Indigenous human rights issues. Nominated in 2005 for a Nobel Peace Prize, Spence has been widely recognized for her Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights activism and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2020 for continuing to advocate for Indigenous peoples.
By highlighting these Calgarian women for their various contributions, we hope you celebrate Women’s History Month by acknowledging incredible women in your life and learning about phenomenal women who contribute and innovate society.