June 18, 2015 – Five years after the unveiling of its iconic monument on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature, the Nellie McClung Foundation, in partnership with the Winnipeg Free Press and Golden West Media, is proud to announce the ‘Nellies’. These awards will honour Nellie McClung’s vision by recognizing the spirit of her life’s work, as it is being advanced by women leaders of today.
The launch of the ‘Nellies’, named after the legendary Manitoba activist Nellie McClung, marks the beginning of a series of celebrations leading up to the 100th anniversary of Manitoba women achieving the right to vote. “The ‘Nellies’ will salute the contributions women in this province have made to social justice, the arts, human rights and the promotion of democracy, following in the footsteps of Nellie McClung,” says Lila Goodspeed, chair of the Nellie McClung Foundation.
In 1916 Manitoba women were the first in the British Commonwealth to be granted the right to vote as a result of the tireless work of Nellie McClung and her peers. The ‘Nellies’ will be presented at the foundation’s Centennial Gala, to be held at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg on January 28, 2016 – the exact date 100 years ago that the legislation was passed granting Manitoba women the right to vote in Provincial elections.
Winnipeg Free Press publisher Bob Cox says the ‘Nellies’ are an excellent way for the newspaper to honour the historic contribution of McClung and her peers, while supporting the ongoing work of Manitoba women who have helped advance social justice and human rights. “We are excited to partner with the foundation in launching the Nellie Awards,” says Cox. The Winnipeg Free Press will help promote the awards program and manage the online nomination and selection process, alongside the Nellie Awards Panel. “We like to think that using the internet to promote the Nellie Awards program and select the recipients is exactly the kind of democratic process that Nellie would support today,” says Cox. Altona-based Golden West Media is also a media partner in the awards program.
Myrna Driedger, MLA for Charleswood and Nellie McClung Foundation Board Member says that honouring the contributions of Manitoba women is vital. “Nellie McClung is an important example of the incredible work both rural and urban Manitoba women have done to enhance our quality of life, strengthen the democratic process and improve society as a whole,” says Driedger.