Canadian Women Activists

Right IconThis ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Throughout history, there have been many Canadian women activists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great Canadian female activists such as Pamela Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Jane Jacobs, Emily Murphy, K. D. Lang.
Vote for Your Favourite Canadian Women Activists
 1 
Margaret Atwood
(Poet, Novelist, Literary Critic & Environmental Activist)
Margaret Atwood
10
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 2 
Naomi Klein
(Canadian Author and Activist Best Known for Her Books: ‘No Logo’, ‘The Shock Doctrine’ and ‘This Changes Everything’)
Naomi Klein
3
Birthdate: May 5, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Canadian author, social activist, and filmmaker Naomi Klein is known for her criticism of corporate globalization and capitalism. She became internationally known following the release of her alter-globalization book No Logo. She often appears on global and national lists of top influential thinkers and is the recipient of the 2016 Sydney Peace Prize. She is a prominent environmentalist as well.

 3 
Phan Thi Kim Phuc
(Napalm Girl Depicted in the Pulitzer Prize–Winning Photograph Titled 'The Terror of War')
Phan Thi Kim Phuc
4
Birthdate: April 6, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Trảng Bàng, Vietnam

Phan Thi Kim Phuc is a South Vietnamese-born Canadian woman. As a nine-year-old child, she was captured in a photograph taken during the Vietnam War, in which she is shown running naked on a road following a napalm attack. It took her a long time to recover from her injuries. As an adult, she is a peace activist.  

 4 
Lauren Southern
(Canadian Alt-Right YouTuber, Political Activist and Commentator)
Lauren Southern
10
Birthdate: June 16, 1995
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Political activist and YouTuber Lauren Southern is also a prominent white nationalist. Initially an employee of The Rebel Media, she later also worked for Sky News Australia. She and two of her fellow anti-Muslim activists were refused entry at the Luton airport in the UK and even detained in 2018.

 5 
Jane Jacobs
(Journalist and Author Best Known for Her Book ‘The Death and Life of Great American Cities’)
Jane Jacobs
3
Birthdate: May 4, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 25, 2006

American-Canadian journalist Jane Jacobs is best known for her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities. A specialist in urban culture and its issues, she was one of the few women who excelled in a male-dominated field. The Vincent Scully Prize winner was initially scorned at as a housewife.

 6 
Viola Desmond
(Businesswoman)
Viola Desmond
3
Birthdate: July 6, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Died: February 7, 1965

Though born bi-racial, Viola Desmond became a Black icon for her business acumen. After not being allowed to train as a beautician in Halifax, she moved to Montreal. Her beauty products, salon, and training institute, all catering specifically to Black women, filled a major void in the beauty industry.

 7 
Shirley Douglas
(Canadian Actress and Activist)
Shirley Douglas
4
Birthdate: April 2, 1934
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weyburn, Canada
Died: April 5, 2020
Actor and activist Shirley Douglas, daughter of Canadian politician Tommy Douglas, started her career with English theater and TV and then went back to Canada. She has played real-life idols such as Nellie McClung, May Bailey, and Madeleine Albright in various projects. She was also part of The Vagina Monologues.
 8 
Sarah Polley
(Actress, Director)
Sarah Polley
6
Birthdate: January 8, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 9 
Rupi Kaur
(Canadian Poet, Illustrator, Photographer, and Author)
Rupi Kaur
4
Birthdate: October 4, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Punjab, India

Rupi Kaur is an Indian-born Canadian poet, photographer, illustrator, and author. Born in India, she moved to Canada at an early age. She began performing in 2009 and gained international fame through her Instagram posts. She often explores her South Asian identity and femininity in her work. Her latest poetry collection, Home Body, released in 2020, was a resounding success. 

 10 
Mary Ann Shadd
(American-Canadian Activist, Journalist, Publisher and the First Black Woman Publisher in North America)
Mary Ann Shadd
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1823
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wilmington, Delaware, United States
Died: June 5, 1893

The first North American Black woman to publish a newspaper, USA-born Mary Ann Shadd was the founder of the Canadian newspaper, The Provincial Freeman. Concurrently serving as its anonymous editor and contributor, she also became one of the first women to pursue journalism in Canada. She was also one of the first Black women to earn a degree in law.

 11 
Elizabeth May
(Leader of the Green Party of Canada from 2006 to 2019)
Elizabeth May
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
 12 
Emily Murphy
(First Female Magistrate in Canada)
Emily Murphy
3
Birthdate: March 14, 1868
Sun Sign: Pisces
Died: October 17, 1933

Canadian women’s rights activist Emily Murphy was part of The Famous Five, a group of women activists who launched the Persons Case to make women eligible to be part of the Senate. Murphy also served as the first police magistrate in Canada and the British Empire.

 13 
Nellie McClung
(Writer, Human rights activist, Politician)
Nellie McClung
3
Birthdate: October 20, 1873
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chatsworth, Ontario, Canada
Died: September 1, 1951

Canadian author and social reformer Nellie McClung had struck gold with her first novel, Sowing Seeds in Danny, a bestseller. She also spoke widely about woman suffrage and was part of the Alberta legislature. She was part of The Famous Five, a group of women who launched the Persons Case.

 14 
Molly Burke
(Activist, Motivational Speaker)
Molly Burke
3
Birthdate: February 8, 1994
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toronto

Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, as retinal disability that causes loss of vision, at age 4, Molly Burke went almost blind at age 14. Now a popular motivational speaker, she has a huge fan base on YouTube, has represented The Foundation Fighting Blindness Canada, and has also launched an audiobook.

 15 
Irshad Manji
(Author and founder of the Moral Courage Project)
Irshad Manji
3
Birthdate: 1968 AD
Birthplace: Kampala, Uganda
 16 
Severn Cullis-Suzuki
(Canadian Environmental Activist, Speaker, Television Host, and Author)
Severn Cullis-Suzuki
6
Birthdate: November 30, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vancouver, Canada

Canadian activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki is known for her fight for environmental issues and intergenerational justice. Born to environmentalist David Suzuki, she began her journey as an environmental activist in fifth grade. She was also honored in the UNEP’s Global 500 Roll of Honour and supports the Slow movement.

 17 
Melody Anderson
(Actress, social worker, public speaker)
Melody Anderson
0
Birthdate: December 3, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
 18 
Sarah Burke
(Freestyle skier)
Sarah Burke
1
Birthdate: September 3, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Died: January 19, 2012
 19 
Dominique Anglade
(Leader of the Opposition in Quebec)
Dominique Anglade
1
Birthdate: January 31, 1974
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
 20 
Charlie Riina
2
Birthplace: Poland

Born in Poland, Charlie Riina moved to Canada in her younger days and won various chess contests there. She later studied criminology but changed her tracks after winning Miss Toronto. Now a popular adult star and beachwear model, she has also been a coveted Playboy Playmate of the Year.

 21 
Ingrid Mattson
(Former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA))
Ingrid Mattson
2
Birthdate: August 24, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kingston, Canada
 22 
Ursula Franklin
(German-Canadian Research Physicist, Metallurgist, Educator, and Author)
Ursula Franklin
0
Birthdate: September 16, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Munich, Germany
Died: July 22, 2016

Ursula Franklin was a German-Canadian research physicist, metallurgist, educator, and author. She is best remembered for her association with the University of Toronto, where she taught for more than 40 years. Ursula Franklin was also renowned for her work in promoting human rights, for which she received the prestigious Pearson Medal of Peace.

 23 
Tara Teng
(Canadian Human Rights Activist and Former Pageant Winner)
Tara Teng
0
Birthdate: August 16, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: British Columbia, Canada

Tara Teng is a Canadian human rights activist and former pageant winner. She achieved popularity in 2011, when she was named Miss Canada. The following year, she was crowned Miss World Canada. An advocate for human rights, Tara Teng spoke about human trafficking during her title reigns. In 2012, she received the Joy Smith Foundation's International Freedom Award.

 24 
Megan Leslie
(Politician, Human rights activist)
Megan Leslie
2
Birthdate: September 29, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Toronto

Apart from being the CEO and president of World Wildlife Fund Canada, Megan Leslie has also served as an MP for Halifax. She worked toward enlisting plastic microbeads on the list of toxic substances under the Environmental Protection Act of Canada. She is also a qualified lawyer.

 25 
Dionne Brand
(Poet, Novelist)
Dionne Brand
0
Birthdate: January 7, 1953
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Guayaguayare, Trinidad and Tobago
 26 
Judith Merril
(American-Canadian Science Fiction Writer, Editor and Political Activist)
Judith Merril
2
Birthdate: January 21, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: September 12, 1997

Sci-fi author Judith Josephine Grossman, better known by her pen-name, Judith Merril, is also known for editing several anthologies. After her father’s suicide, she was raised by her mother in the Bronx. That Only A Mother remains one of her best-known short stories and has been part of many anthologies.

 27 
June Callwood
(Journalist)
June Callwood
1
Birthdate: June 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chatham-Kent, Canada
Died: April 14, 2007

Known widely as Canada's Conscience, journalist, author, and activist June Callwood had been associated with several publications, such as The Globe and Mail. She also established some of the first charity centers for women in Canada, opposed abortion laws, and co-founded the Writer’s Union of Canada.

 28 
Laura Sabia
(Canadian Social Activist and Feminist)
Laura Sabia
1
Birthdate: September 18, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died: October 17, 1996

Canadian women rights activist Laura Sabia was born to Italian immigrants in Montreal. She made headlines when she led a coalition of 32 women’s rights groups to campaign for a Royal Commission on the status of women. She also served as the president of the Canadian Federation of University Women.

 29 
Martha Chaves
(Nicaraguan-Canadian Actress & Comedian)
Martha Chaves
1
Birthplace: Nicaragua

Martha Chaves is a Nicaraguan-Canadian actress, comedian, playwright, and activist. She is best known for her stand-up comedy, which she performs in English, Spanish, Italian, and French. She has featured in famous comedy festivals, including Just for Laughs. In 2017, Martha Chaves was honored with the prestigious Canadian Comedy Award under the Best Standup Comic category.

 30 
Ketty Nivyabandi
(Burundian Human Rights Activist and Poet)
Ketty Nivyabandi
0
Birthdate: July 19, 1978
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Burundi

Ketty Nivyabandi is a Burundian human rights activist and poet. Her French-language poetry has been featured in popular magazines like Words Without Borders and World Literature Today. Ketty Nivyabandi voiced her opinion during Burundi's constitutional crisis in 2015. She also led her country's first women-only protest.

 31 
Aaju Peter
(lawyer, Activist)
Aaju Peter
1
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Canada
 32 
Maggie McGuane
(Canadian Activists and Daughter of Actress Margot Kidder)
Maggie McGuane
1
Birthdate: October 28, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Canada

Maggie McGuane is a Canadian author and activist. From working for an animal shelter to helping victims of Hurricane Katrina, Maggie McGuane has been involved as an activist for several causes. She is the daughter of American writer, Thomas McGuane, and popular Canadian-American actress, Margot Kidder.

 33 
Annie Le Porte Diggs
1
Birthdate: February 22, 1853
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, Canada
Died: September 7, 1916
 34 
Loly Rico
(Refugee activist)
Loly Rico
1
Birthplace: El Salvador
 35 
Christina Evangeline
(Kenan Thompson's Wife)
Christina Evangeline
1
Birthdate: March 24, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada