Carrie Derick (1862 – 1941)

Carrie Derick
McCord Museum of Canadian History

Carrie Derick was a scientist, the first female professor in a Canadian university, and founder of McGill University's Genetics Department. Born in Clarenceville, Quebec, she received a BA and an MA from McGill before going overseas. At the University of Bonn, Derick completed the research but was refused a Ph.D. based on a policy against awarding doctorates to women. She returned to McGill and worked for seven years without a pay increase. A letter of complaint to her principal resulted in her promotion to assistant professor, at one-third the salary of her male colleagues. In 1912, after three years of running the department, she was finally appointed Professor of Comparative Morphology and Genetics. She advocated for women's education, served as President of the Montreal Suffrage Association and was a lifelong member of the National Council of Women. 

Carrie Derick “had gained knowledge for herself, and . . . believed that her knowledge was a possession to be used for the service of mankind.” (A.F. Byers)

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