Local Student Honoured by Governor General

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A Winnipeg law student is one of six women who received an award from Gov. Gen. Julie Payette at a Senate ceremony Friday morning, in commemoration of a landmark gender equality case.

Alana Robert, the only youth recipient of the group, is in her final year at Osgoode Hall Law School (Toronto’s York University). Robert received the prestigious Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case for her focus on advancing the rights of marginalized groups in Canada.

The award is given each year to highlight Canadians who have contributed to the advancement of women’s equality.

It marks the historic decision by Canada’s highest court of appeal to include women in the legal definition of "persons."

The Persons Case, as it is known, gave women the right to be appointed to the Senate and paved the way for women’s increased participation in public and political life.

The award was established in 1979, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic decision.

This year’s laureates included: Rina Arseneault of Fredericton, N.B., for her work as a social worker, researcher, activist, organizer, author and educator; Shirley Cuillierrier of Ottawa, for her work promoting the benefits of women in policing; Rina Fraticelli of Toronto, for her career addressing gender inequity issues in Canada’s arts and cultural industries; Charlotte Hrenchuk of Whitehorse, for her work addressing gender inequality issues throughout northern Canada; and Hélène Lee-Gosselin of Sainte-Pétronille, Que., for her work studying equity and diversity in the workplace, pay equity, women’s entrepreneurship, and women’s place in decision-making bodies and academic institutions.