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Audrey McLaughlin (1936 - )

Audrey McLaughlin (1936 - )

Audrey McLaughlin was the first woman to become leader of a national Canadian political party and the first member of the New Democratic Party to represent the Yukon in parliament.

  • McLaughlin was the first member of her family to go to university. She has four degrees: a Masters Degree in Social Work and an honorary PhD from the University of Toronto and one from the University of British Columbia.
  • She worked as a social worker in Toronto and as a teacher in Ghana, Africa.
  • As a woman in politics, she faced a great deal of sexism. For example, the media tended to refer to her high cheekbones when they talked about her.
  • She said, “When you listen, it’s amazing what you can learn. When you act on what you’ve learned, it’s amazing what you can change.”
  • McLaughlin was elected as the first New Democratic Party Member of Parliament for the Yukon in 1987. In 1989, she became the first woman to lead a national party in Canada. McLaughlin stayed on as leader until 1995 and retired from politics two years later.
  • McLaughlin published her autobiography in 1992, A Woman’s Place: My Life and Politics.
  • She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004 and she was on the National Roundtable on the Economy and Environment from 2005-2006. She worked on a variety of political projects in Africa and Kosovo, served as President of the Socialist International Women and represented the Yukon Government on Circumpolar Affairs.
  • McLaughlin was born in Ontario and lives in the Yukon.
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