March 11, 2019

Elizabeth Cannon, Suzanne Tough recognized by United Nations on International Women's Day

UCalgary leaders celebrated for contributions to empowering women

This year on International Women’s Day (March 8), United Nations Women chose to celebrate the work of 100 women from around the world who have contributed to mentoring, supporting and empowering women. Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, PhD, and Dr. Suzanne Tough, PhD, pictured above with Marie Delorme (centre), were selected as part of a group of five Alberta women to be honoured at a special event sponsored by UN Women in New York.  

This year’s theme, Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change, highlights the work of female leaders actively advancing gender equity in all aspects of life. The day’s event also served as an official launch for a global program called She Innovates, an initiative to establish local mentoring and leadership opportunities for young women. 

Leading innovation in higher education 

Cannon, president emerita and a professor in the Schulich School of Engineering, is being recognized for her leadership roles, both in administration and for her pioneering work in the field of geomatics. 

“Women are curious, creative and resourceful — key elements needed for innovation and entrepreneurial thinking,” says Cannon. “Women are increasingly using these skills, combined with hard work and networking, to play leadership roles in the development of new companies as well as solutions to complex problems facing our communities.

“Unleashing the talents of women will drive global change and impact.”

International Women's Day, March 8, New York. 100 women from around the world were honoured for their efforts as leaders supporting and empowering women. Five women from Alberta were part of the group, including UCalgary's Elizabeth Cannon, Suzanne Tough and alumna Marie Delorme.

International Women's Day, March 8, New York. 100 women from around the world were honoured.

UN Women

Helping mothers and high-risk babies

Tough, a pioneer in research to better understand high-risk babies and their outcomes, launched a definitive study in the mid-1990s focusing on the impact of Alberta’s high rate of preterm deliveries, one of the highest in Canada. The study, believed to be the first of its kind in the province, considered the preterm birth rate and the relationship to delayed childbearing age.

A professor in the Cumming School of Medicine’s departments of paediatrics and community health sciences, Tough is a Senior Policy Fellow with the Burns Memorial Fund and Max Bell Foundation, and is a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health.

“This recognition by the UN reflects on the research we’ve conducted over the last 20 years to help families be strong,” says Tough. “When you enable families to be strong and healthy, you create a path for empowering young women.”  (For more information on Tough’s research, view video.)

Alberta women celebrated by the United Nations

Both women were honoured during the afternoon ceremony on March 8, which took place in Manhattan, along with three other women from Alberta: 2018 UCalgary Honourary Degree recipient Marie Delorme, PhD’12, former Member of Parliament Rona Ambrose, and humanitarian, social innovator and Team Canada powerlifter Nicola Paviglianiti.