Margaret-Ann Armour named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women

The Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards recognizes the country's highest achieving female leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

By ExpressNews staff on December 8, 2010

(Edmonton) Margaret-Ann Armour has been named as one of Canada’s top 100 most powerful women.

The University of Alberta Faculty of Science’s associate dean of diversity was presented with the award at a gala event in Toronto November 29.

The Women's Executive Network, which releases its list of powerful women annually, received more than 300 nominations from across Canada and pared the submissions to 100 women it believes have accomplished something truly exemplary.

The Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards recognizes the country's highest-achieving female leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

"Our Top 100 community is a powerful group of women who are at the top of their game," said Pamela Jeffery, founder of the Women's Executive Network. "Top 100 is a mark of their success and how they have supported their communities, companies and organizations."

“I am honoured to be recognized in this way; joining a remarkable group of women leaders who are making a difference in Canadian life,” says Armour.

For more than a quarter of a century, Armour—a distinguished scientist—has been Canada’s premier ambassador of science, volunteering tirelessly to encourage girls and young women to consider careers in the sciences and engineering. She has done this by creating and nurturing a series of initiatives under an umbrella organization called WISEST—Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology. Through this program and related activities, Armour is a recognized leader in raising national awareness among school-aged girls, educators, parents and employers of the importance of encouraging women to enter science and engineering.

Her commitment began in 1981, when Armour was one of 20 leaders who studied the low number of women in science. A year later, WISEST was formed. In an era when women represented only 30 per cent of undergraduate science and engineering students and the number of female faculty was 10 per cent in science and two per cent in engineering, Armour played a pivotal role as a mentor and a significant role model for young women. 

Her dedication continues. Armour is today the founding president of the Board of the Canadian Centre for Women in Science, Engineering, Trades and Technology, the WinSETT Centre. The centre was officially launched at the CCWESTT conference in Winnipeg on May 14, 2010.

For her work and advocacy in improving the situation of Canadian women in science and technology, Armour was named to the Order of Canada in 2006. She also received a Governor General's Award commemorating the Persons Case, a landmark decision in 1929 that declared women to be persons under the British North America Act. Armour’s dedication to education and her passion for science was also recognized in 2007 when she was named a Champion of Public Education by the Learning Partnership. Later that year she also received the Alberta Science and Technology Leadership Awards Foundation Special Award.

As associate dean of diversity at the U of A's science faculty, Armour has developed and implemented Project Catalyst, a series of actions to increase the percentage of women in faculty positions in the Faculty of Science. Although more than 50 per cent of undergraduate students in the sciences in universities across Canada are female, less than 20 per cent of the faculty members are women, and this percentage has changed only slightly over the past 10 years. She has been invited to the University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa and the University of British Columbia to talk about the initiative, and UWO and UBC have instituted similar programs.