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Women and girls have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order for us to build back better, we must build back feminist. Join us for an important talk with inspiring Canadian women on how to build a safer, more inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world for all post-COVID.

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Canada House

Wednesday, 3 March 2021 at 3pm GMT

Janice Charette

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Prior to this, Mrs. Charette served as Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet from October 2014 to January 2016 where she served as the principal public service advisor to Canada’s Prime Minister in addition to her role as head of the public service. 


Previously, she was Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council and Associate Secretary to the Cabinet as well as Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. In addition, Mrs. Charette has held leadership positions in eight ministries, that covered issues including skills development, labour markets, immigration, citizenship, social security programs, health and justice. Her early career included work in finance, privatization, federal-provincial relations and in the Prime Minister’s office.


Mrs. Charette worked in the private sector from 1996 to 1999, first as Principal in the management consulting firm of Ernst & Young, and as Director of the Transition Team that organized the start-up of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.


Mrs. Charette is a champion for community mental health and for mental wellness in the workplace.  In 2008, she was national Chair for the United Way’s Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign, raising over CAD$36 million for communities and national health charities across Canada.


She was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2013 and 2014. She is currently on the board of the Rideau Hall Foundation in Canada, and represents Canada on the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Commonwealth War Graves Foundation and the Imperial War Museum. Mrs. Charette attended Carleton University, where she received a Bachelor of Commerce.


She is married to Reg Charette, and they have two adult children - Jed and Cassie.

Janice Charette assumed her responsibilities as High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on September 7, 2016.

High Commissioner for Canada in the UK

Hon. Karina Gould



A graduate of McGill University and the University of Oxford, Minister Gould is passionate about public service and international development. Before her election as the Member of Parliament for Burlington, she worked as a trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission in Toronto, a consultant for the Migration and Development Program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., and spent a year volunteering at an orphanage in Mexico.


Minister Gould has deep roots in her hometown of Burlington, Ontario, and is an active member of the community and an advocate for women’s issues and affordable housing. She has volunteered with and actively supports the Iroquoia Bruce Trail Club, the Burlington chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women, the Mississauga Furniture Bank, Halton Women’s Place, and other local organizations.


Minister Gould lives in Burlington with her husband Alberto and son Oliver. With the birth of Oliver, Minister Gould became the first federal cabinet minister to have a baby while holding office. She is passionate about breaking down barriers for women, youth, and underrepresented groups.

The Honourable Karina Gould was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Burlington in 2015.

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Minister of International Development of Canada

Dr. Polly Russell



Polly’s research interests include twentieth century women’s movements and feminism, the history of food and the social, cultural and political connections between food and everyday life.


Polly is the Lead Curator for the library’s ongoing major exhibition Unfinished Business: the Fight for Women’s Rights and the accompanying podcast series of the same name.

She was also the British Library project lead for Sisterhood & After: An Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement  and for the digitised Spare Rib magazine.

Since 2012 Polly has had a column in the Financial Times Saturday magazine, The History Cook and she is the historical presenter on the BBC2 history series Back in Time.

Polly Russell is Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library.

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Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies

Margaret Atwood



Dearly, her first collection of poetry in over a decade, was published in November 2020. Her latest novel, The Testaments, is a co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. It is the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series. Her other works of fiction include Cat’s Eye, finalist for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam Trilogy; and Hag-Seed. 

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. 

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in more than 45 countries, is the author of more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels.

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Hon. Jean Augustine

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then Cabinet Minister and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons – successfully championing motions creating Black History Month in Canada and allowing for the placement of the Famous Five statue on Parliament Hill.


Today, she serves via her Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment; York University’s Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora, and two schools in her name.

Jean Augustine immigrated to Canada in 1960 and worked as a nanny, teacher, principal, and later chair of the Metro Toronto Housing Authority while raising two girls. In 1993, she became the first Black Woman elected to the Parliament of Canada,

P.C., C.M., C.B.E.

Maryam and Nivaal Rehman



They are the co-founders of their own non-profit organization, The World With MNR, which uses storytelling, advocacy and development projects to take action for climate justice, gender equality and inclusivity.


They began their activism journey when they were just eight-years-old in their village in Pakistan, inspiring girls in their village to continue their education. 


Some of their most notable work includes their interviews with Nobel-Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among others. They became filmmakers for Disney and the UN Girl Up Campaign’s “Dream Big Princess” project, releasing a documentary on girls' education in Pakistan in 2019.


They are the recipients of several awards, including the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award (now the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers). 

Maryam and Nivaal Rehman are Pakistani-Canadian twin activists, journalists and filmmakers based near Toronto, Canada.

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Co-founders, The World with MNR

Carolyn A. Wilkins



Prior to this appointment, Ms. Wilkins had a distinguished twenty-year career at the Bank of Canada, serving as Senior Deputy Governor from 2014 to 2020, setting monetary and financial system policies with the Governing Council, and overseeing strategic planning and economic research.


Ms. Wilkins led the development of the Bank’s market liquidity facilities and large-scale asset purchase program as part of its COVID-19 response. She has made important contributions to international financial policies over her career, most recently as the Bank of Canada’s G20 and G7 Deputy and member of the Financial Stability Board.


Ms. Wilkins has published and spoken on a broad range of international issues, including economic resilience, global financial regulation, and Fintech.

Carolyn A. Wilkins was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of Intact Financial Corporation, the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada and a leading provider of specialty insurance in North America.

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Former Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada



Shawnee recently has been named the first indigenous artist taking home the number one spot on the CBC Searchlight contest 2020. While Billboard names her one of their "LGBTQ2 Artists You Should Know" in music.


Shawnee's voice is filled with power and dynamic strength, all the while there is a soul and vulnerability that is captivating. With songs like Warrior Heart and Mirror Me, Shawnee demands awareness and promotes community healing and inspiration through music for community issues and struggles like the suicide crisis in Indigenous communities.


Her music journey is to share healing, promote self love and encourage empowerment through the hardest of times. She recently performed her single for the suicide crisis (Warrior Heart)  in summer 2019 at the Prime Minister’s Canada Day event and World Pride NYC’s Stonewall Anniversary.

Shawnee's voice is a strong one; her message is powerful and her journey in Canadian music continues to reach out impacting Warrior Hearts internationally.

Canadian Mohawk Two Spirit singer/songwriter, Shawnee, uses music as medicine. Sharing her struggle with self identity and discovering music as a healing power through her music is what drives Shawnee's creative spirit.

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Canadian Mohawk Two Spirit singer/songwriter