Persons Case scholarship returns to Alberta, Women in STEM award introduced
By Noel Harper, News Editor
The province has initiated applications for a new scholarship program aimed at Albertans who are helping to work towards gender parity and reduce gender-based discrimination.
The Leaders in Equality Award of Distinction (LEAD) program will distribute $225,000 in funding to 90 eligible Alberta students pursuing high school or post-secondary education. Each student will receive $2,500 through one of two scholarship streams being brought together under the program.
The Women in STEM award — which was first announced in September 2020 — makes up 50 of these scholarships. The award is designated for those who identify as women pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, as the acronym suggests.
“More than 100 years ago, women were critical in the building of Alberta – shaping its society and economy. The LEAD Program will assist women and gender-diverse Albertans to pursue fulfilling careers that help promote gender equality and change Alberta for the better,” reads a statement from Leela Aheer, Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.
“It is especially important at this time to support students in pursuing a broad range of careers as we work toward Alberta’s economic recovery.”
The remaining 40 awards will be given out through the second stream – the Persons Case Scholarship. Any Alberta post-secondary student can apply, with the awards given to those who are using their studies to advance gender equality.
“The Leaders in Equality Award of Distinction scholarship supports students and empowers them to build the skills they need to find success in their chosen career,” said Minister of Advanced Education Demetrois Nicolaides.
The Persons Case scholarship is named for the landmark 1929 ruling brought on by the Famous Five activists. The case allowed women to be appointed as senators, reversing a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada the previous year, which declared that women were not “persons” within what is now known as the Constitution Act.
At around the same time the Women in STEM award was announced, the Alberta government initially decided that the Persons Case scholarship would come to an end after more than 40 years.
The allocated funds, which were originally given to students in any university program under the scholarship, were to be given to the non-profit Women Building Futures, which assists women that pursue building trades in traditionally male-dominated fields. The decision garnered controversy, with some worrying that academic efforts to benefit gender equality would be focused on some programs and not others, such as arts or public health.
The deadline to apply for the LEAD program is Feb. 21.