News Story

Women’s History Month Highlights Exemplary Canadians

A statement issued by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this year’s theme for Women’s History Month — “Because of Her” — “gives all Canadians the chance to recognize and appreciate the significant achievements and contributions women have made to our great country.”

Throughout Canadian history, many women from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have distinguished themselves as strong, positive contributors to their communities.

“The women in our lives,” stated former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008), “are creatures endowed with particular qualities, divine qualities, which cause them to reach out in kindness and with love to those about them” (“The Women in Our Lives,” October 2004 general conference).


Zina Young Williams Card was such a woman. A daughter of Brigham Young, she was a young widow when she married Charles O. Card in 1884. Three years later, Charles led a small group of Mormons to establish a settlement in what is now Cardston, Alberta. A woman of education and refinement, Zina shared the hardships and poverty of other pioneer settlers as their community was established. She delivered babies, organized a community theatre and invested much of her personal wealth in establishing co-operative pioneer businesses and industries.

As first lady of Cardston and hostess to a large number of visiting dignitaries, her gracious hospitality under pioneer conditions tempered the unfavourable opinions of many of her guests toward Mormons.

The first female scoutmaster in Canada, Louisa Grant Alston, was also a member of the Church. Her appointment in June 1914 came within weeks of her involvement with the first scout troop organized in Magrath, Alberta. Through Louisa’s leadership, her scouts learned to be responsible citizens, rendering community service during World War I, including errands for the Red Cross.

When the Governor General of Canada, the Duke of Devonshire, visited Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1917, he was impressed with Louisa and her 60 scouts selected to meet him. Shortly thereafter, she was appointed Scout commissioner, the first woman to attain that rank. In 1939, she was presented with the Medal of Merit by Scouts Canada for her “particularly fine service” as one of the pioneers of scouting in Canada.

Ten years ago, Helen Warner, a Latter-day Saint from Brampton, Ontario, initiated a program at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, Ontario, where volunteers record imprisoned women reading children’s books, after which the books and the recordings are sent to the women’s children.

Working with the Elizabeth Fry Society is another of Helen’s initiatives. Previously, women prisoners were released wearing prison clothing and holding their few personal belongings in a garbage bag. Now they are given backpacks with necessities plus vouchers, coupons and phone cards to help them transition to their new lives.As a member of the Brampton Heritage Board, Helen researches and writes about local history. She has organized heritage and black history conferences and the One World–One Family Conference. Recently she completed a chapter on the history of Latter-day Saints in Ontario to be published in a forthcoming book, “Canadian Mormons: A History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada.”President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency of the Church has said, “As husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and friends of these choice women — may [we] see them as the Lord sees them, as daughters of God with limitless potential to influence the world for good” (“The Influence of Righteous Women,” Ensign, September 2009).

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