Born on April 1st 1916, two months after Manitoba women received the right to vote, Dr. Jessie Lang demonstrated that traditional roles and expectations for women would not limit her. At Wesley College (now the University of Winnipeg) she actively participated on the debate team and in ice hockey, graduating in 1937 with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. As a young wife and mother, Jessie volunteered for the Community Chest (now the United Way), and UNICEF among others.
Widowed, in 1961 she enrolled at the University of Manitoba attaining a Bachelor of Social Work. A gifted counselor for Child Guidance Clinic (for the Winnipeg School Division), she advised, encouraged and mentored high school aged girls. Jessie played active roles with the Board of Governors of University of Manitoba, the Manitoba Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation, Mount Carmel Clinic and the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Manitoba and Canada. Jessie served as the first female chair of the Health Science Center, where she helped develop the day nursery which enabled women to stay in the workforce.
Jessie participated in her first MS walk in 2013 at the age 97, to honour the twentieth anniversary of the death of her daughter Wendy (who suffered from MS). At 99, Jessie continues to educate people about the disease and to advance the research and service commitments of the MS Society. Jessie has been an extraordinary role model for the inclusion of all women, challenging society’s perception of women in the workforce and society while remaining committed to serving everyone, regardless of gender.
ignty, and protection of land and water. Alex’s home remains in Opaskwayak Cree Nation, where, in collaboration with her family and community, she has established an award-winning community garden and nutrition program.