Kid’s Column – Women Who Made a Difference

Submitted by Sheri Selway

Co-authors Aly, Abby, Eileen, and Jack – Bennetto School

Since March 8 marks International Women’s Day, our group had a good look at the Viola Desmond $10 bill. There is a GREAT explanation on the Bank of Canada website if you want to look at all the parts of the $10 bill! There is a Halifax map, an eagle feather and lots of interactive explanations.

Viola Desmond was a successful business woman. In 1946, while waiting for her car to be fixed, Viola went to see a movie. She was dragged out of the theatre for sitting in the “whites only” section of the theatre and not in the balcony. She was jailed and found guilty for tax evasion (although she tried to buy the downstairs ticket) and fined for “not paying the tax” since segregation was not a law. Many others supported Viola and thought she was treated unfairly. With community support, she took it to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court and it refused to hear the case. She is often given credit for starting the civil rights movement in Canada! Viola was pardoned in 2010, after her death. There are MANY books about Viola Desmond in the library. Her story is very inspiring.

There are many other women who have made an impact in our lives today and in the past, who also deserve recognition. Their small acts of courage and advocating for change deserve recognition, whether sitting in the “wrong” seat like Viola, running in a “men’s only” race like Tersilla Komac, or having a something horrible happen like Shannen Koostachin and Adelaide Hoodless and doing something about it.

Tersilla Komac by Aly

Last year I ran in the Around the Bay Race for the 5 km. It was the 125th anniversary of the race but it was only forty years for women. So, we wore signs on our shirts saying “Tersilla Komac is my hero”. In 1975 Tersilla Komac ran the Around the Bay race even though women weren’t allowed to run it yet. She didn’t sign up though. The police didn’t stop the cars for her like they did for the men. But she kept going. In 1976 she ran the Around the Bay race again as T. Komac. Tersilla Komac had 3 children and lived on Keith Street. The race was opened to women in 1979 because Tersilla Komac was brave.

Adelaide Hoodless by Jack

Adelaide Hunter Hoodless, was born Adelaide Sophia Hunter in St. George, Ontario in 1857. In 1881, she married John Hoodless and soon afterwards had 4 children. Adelaide was living a perfectly normal life for a mother in 1889 when her 14 month old son, John Harold died. Adelaide was struck with tragedy, so she decided to do something about it. She fought for proper education for the raising of children, Domestic Science to be taught in schools. Along the way, she also fought for women’s rights to be heard and many other things she believed in until she died at age 52 in 1910.