Margaret Meagher (1911 – 1999)

Margaret Meagher
©Simonis Wien, 1966

Blanche Margaret Meagher was a pioneering diplomat and Canada's first woman ambassador. Born in Halifax, Meagher taught school there from 1932 to 1942, when she was among the first women hired by the Department of External Affairs. She was initially posted to Mexico City, then to London, England. She also served as Canada's High Commissioner to Cyprus, Kenya and Uganda. In 1958, Meagher was appointed Ambassador to Israel, the first Canadian woman to hold an ambassadorial position. From 1962 to 1966, she served as both Canada's Ambassador to Austria and Canada's governor of, and later chair of, the International Atomic Energy Agency. As Canada's Ambassador to Sweden from 1969 to 1973, Meagher helped to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. A dedicated public servant, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1974.

“I had always been very interested indeed by international affairs, but up until the time of the war the department was a male preserve.”

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