Celebrating Persons Day – Governor General’s Awards recipients advance gender equality

News release

October 18, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Women and Gender Equality Canada

Gender equality will be achieved when people of all genders have opportunities to participate fully in democratic and public life, to attain economic security, and to live free of violence. The 2022 Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case recognizes individuals who are continuing to advance gender equality in Canada.

Today, on Persons Day, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced the recipients of the 2022 Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The 2022 Award recipients are:

  • Dr. Lynn Gehl
  • Dr. Shimi Kang
  • Farrah Khan
  • Dr. Sylvia Maracle
  • Judy White
  • Ishita Aggarwal – (Youth)

The contributions of Canadians, such as these recipients, are not only helping to make Canada more inclusive and prosperous for all, they are inspiring others to make a difference in our country and around the world. When Canadians come together, we can make significant strides towards gender equality.

The Governor General's Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case were created in 1979 to mark the 50th anniversary of the ground-breaking Persons Case. This decision marked the beginning of women’s increased participation in public and political life, removing a significant legal barrier to gender equality in Canada.  While we celebrate one of our country’s first steps toward gender equality, we recognize that this historic moment did not benefit all Canadian women. Indigenous women and those of Asian descent didn’t get universal suffrage until the end of World War II. The attitudes of the time perpetuate systemic barriers that women continue to work to overcome today.  Through this recognition, we honour the vital work to ensure all women are included in the advancement of gender equality.


“As advocates for equality, diversity and equity for women and girls, this year’s trailblazers deserve recognition. They are Indigenous women’s activists, mental health champions, and leaders in making systemic changes to support victims of gender-based violence. I am incredibly honoured to congratulate the six recipients for their dedication, passion, and commitment to making their country and the world a better place. Their stories and leadership are reminders that together, we can make gender equality a reality.”

The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Quick facts

  • October 18th is Persons Day, marking the day in 1929 when the historic decision to include women in the legal definition of “persons” was handed down by Canada’s highest court of appeal. This milestone victory gave women the right to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and paved the way for some women's increased participation in public and political life.

    Since 1979, 226 Canadians have been recognized for their outstanding achievements and commitment to advancing gender equality.

  • A video entitled “Women. Are. Persons.” can be viewed at www.women.gc.ca describing the Famous Five and the Persons Case, which paved the way for women to participate more fully in all aspects of Canadian life.

Associated links


Johise Namwira
Press Secretary and Issues Manager
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth

Media Relations
Women and Gender Equality Canada

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