Young women can achieve a lot in their lifetimes, but it is very important that they get a good education, said Dr. Huguette Labelle, this year’s Y Women of Distinction Scotiabank Lifetime Achievement Award.
“I always press them to continue their studies, to go on to university and college,” she said. “This will not only give them knowledge, but the self-confidence and greater opportunities that they would not have had without higher education.”
Huguette will receive her award Monday evening at the Y Women of Distinction Awards at the National Arts Centre.
She is the only previously announced winner out of 42 women nominated in 10 categories.
The award, she said, is a way of demonstrating to younger women that there are all kinds of possibilities in life in terms of what they can do.
Labelle is a Companion of the Order of Canada since 2001, and an Officer since 1989.
She is the chancellor of the University of Ottawa and throughout her career as a public servant, broke ground for many women — she was the first woman to head the Red Cross in Canada and the first Francophone woman to rise to be a deputy minister in the federal government.
Early in her career, Labelle said she was frequently the first woman appointed as the chair of a board or executive positions with in the federal government.
Over time, she said more and more women have been appointed and promoted in the government.