The Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies joins many in the community in mourning the passing of Ottawa feminist, lawyer and philanthropist, Shirley Greenberg.

Posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Shirley Greenberg was a pioneer, playing instrumental roles in feminist community building and organizing, including with organizations like the Ottawa Women’s Centre and the Legal Education Action Fund. Beyond her work in the community, Shirley believed in the advancement of feminist scholarship and research and we, at the Institute, are honoured to be part of this aspect of her legacy.  

Shirley is not only a friend of the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies but played an integral part in officially launching the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies on November 3, 1999. With a generous donation, the Institute established, in 1999, the annual Shirley Greenberg Lecture. Each year, the conference showcases a distinguished speaker who has played a significant role in feminist activism. Over the years, this annual lecture has hosted an amazing array of speakers including Audra Simpson, Jasbir Puar, Sara Ahmed, Alanis Obomsawin, Marie-Claire Blais, Anne Claire Poirier, Céline Galipeau, and most recently, Billy-Ray Belcourt. Every year, thanks to Shirley’s support of feminist scholarship, we celebrate the Institute’s work and showcase groundbreaking research and scholars.   

As the current director of the Institute, I can say I was personally inspired by Shirley’s work and her leadership in paving the way for women lawyers. She created the first all-female law practice in Ottawa when there were only 10 women in the city practising law. After articling, I opened a practice with a fellow University of Ottawa graduate and we proudly called it a feminist legal practice, modeling it on the community that Shirley inspired.  

The Institute pledges to continue the work Shirley was committed to in uplifting, supporting feminist pedagogy, research and advocacy. We are proud that her name will live on in the annual celebration in our lecture series promoting and showcasing the best of feminist scholarship. 

On behalf of the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies.
Jamie Liew, Director 

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