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Published on March 4th, 2020

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Historical Note to Mark International Women’s Day

By Virginia Martin

A photo of Isabel Richards, founding president of the Canadian Speech and Hearing Association.

Since almost all the early pioneers in our professions in Canada were women, the culture surrounding women in the workplace had an influence on the professions.

One concrete and obvious influence was a change in the names and titles used in newspapers to describe early speech therapists. This contrast is illustrated in two newspaper articles from the early 1960’s dated one-year apart referring to elections for the Manitoba Speech and Hearing Association (MSHA).

From an article in a Winnipeg newspaper dated May 29, 1961: “Mrs. George Murphy has been elected President….Vice president: Mrs. Albert Brady;…Marian Mills, treasurer. The association was recently incorporated by an act of the Manitoba legislature and represents 16 speech therapists in Manitoba.”

One year later, from an article dated May 26, 1962: “Mrs. Idell Brady was elected president of the Manitoba Speech and Hearing Association at the annual luncheon meeting….Other officers include past president, Mrs. Angela Murphy, treasurer Miss Mills.”

All of the women mentioned above were charter members of the Canadian Speech and Hearing Association (now SAC) and both Angela and Marian were active in the national association over their careers as well as their provincial association.

Note from the author: The clippings and above photo of Isabel Richard, founding president of the Canadian Speech and Hearing Association, are from the archives of the MSHA. 




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