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Women's Studies Class at UofT, 1975
Photo courtesy of University of Toronto archives

Feminist Revolution at U of T

Milestones over more than a century

1885 – The first five women graduate from U of T, including Margaret and Catherine Brown (daughters of The Globe newspaper founder, George Brown), who both earned BAs in modern languages.

1906 – The university’s first female associate professors are named within the School of Household Science: Principal Annie Laird and chemist Clara Benson. Both were named the first female full professors in 1920.

1921 – The U of T Varsity Blues women’s hockey team hits the ice for the first time. The following year, they win the first women’s intercollegiate hockey championship.

1970s – Thanks to student activists, U of T’s first on-site child-care facility, Campus Community Co-op Daycare Centre, is created.

1971 – Two women’s studies courses are established, leading to the launch of a women’s studies program in 1974.

1972 – Women are admitted to Hart House, a male-only facility since its opening in 1919. (This is followed by Massey College’s admission of women in 1974.)

1973 – Jill Ker Conway is named vice-president at the university – making her the first woman in an academic leadership position at U of T.

1984 – The Status of Women Office, which works toward full gender equity at U of T for students, staff and faculty, is established.

2005 – Dr. Catharine Whiteside is appointed the first female dean of medicine at U of T. The following year, Prof. Mayo Moran is named the first female dean of law and Prof. Cristina Amon the first female dean of applied science and engineering.

**Please click on image below to launch a slideshow of noted women from U of T’s history

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  1. 2 Responses to “ Feminist Revolution at U of T ”

  2. University of Toronto Magazine says:

    I greatly enjoyed reading “Feminist Revolution at U of T." I understand that it is not possible to include all of the achievements of women as members of faculty and student body at U of T over the years. At the same time, it appears that women associated with the University of Toronto Library School (now the Faculty of Information), are rarely mentioned. Winifred Barnstead and Bertha Bassam, the first two directors, have had a lasting impact on the development of librarianship (“a woman’s profession”), in the province of Ontario. Nonetheless, their efforts in providing employment opportunities for women (outside of teaching and clerical work) are rarely acknowledged in discussions on women's history at the university.

    Agatha Barc
    BA 2012 UC

  3. Patrick Keilty says:

    So true Agatha! I rarely read accounts of the pioneering women from U of T's Library School. For example, Martin Friedland's book (The University of Toronto: A History) devotes an entire chapter to the history of women at U of T but says nothing about the Library School. The Faculty of Information today continues a strong feminist tradition in its various approaches to information, media, culture, science, and technology.