The Struggle Of Women In The 20's Century Presents The Life Of Elizabeth Gregory Macgill

1334 words - 6 pages

Where are the women? I always asked my self that question whenever I read history books. I love history but even as a child, I wanted to learn about the lives of women. As an adult I began to do some research on my own and discovered it was difficult to find information about women's lives. However, I asked my self many times " how could I have studied Canadian history for so many years and not have heard these women's stories? " I wondered. Therefore, today I did my research on women's opportunities and I am going to talk about Elizabeth Muriel Gregory MacGill." I am not a hero. I was lucky. I got a good education. So my mother was a judge; so what? I did not think it was any more remarkable for a woman being a judge than it was for me to be an engineer. " Elizabeth Muriel Gregory MacGill, known as " Elsie ", said. In fact, Elizabeth MacGill is a hero; she is a purposeful citizen who had done a lot to help Canadian women and other women in the world. She was the first woman in Canada to earn a degree in electrical engineering, she became the first woman in North America to hold a degree in aeronautical engineering, she was the first woman to design and witness an airplane based on her design, and she was a strong advocate for women's rights.Elsie was born in Vancouver in 1905. Her mother was Helen Gregory MacGill, a newspaper reporter and the first woman judge in British Columbia. Helen worked to change legislation to improve the lives of women and children in Canada, and she was a strong role model for her daughter. Elsie's father was James Henry MacGill, a well-known lawyer. Therefore, all this facts influenced Elsie to become an engineer. The word " first " appears often in an account of Elsie MacGill's career. In 1927, she was the first woman to graduate in electrical engineering from the university of Toronto. The Austin Automobile Company in Michigan soon hired her as an engineer. Her presence in the university of Toronto's engineering classes certainly turned a few heads. One professor, was unaware that his large class of men had, for the first time, been invaded by a " lady ", the men in the class exploded in laughter and the poor professor was reduced to confusion. However, none of this was enough to stop her from continuing her education. As a result, because she was the first woman in Canada to become an engineer, that led her to become a focused citizen who had done a lot to help Canadian women and others in the world to get a good education and to fight for their future.After graduation and working for the Austin Automobile Company, the company started to produce aircraft, therefore, Elsie became very interested in the fields of aeronautics. This motivated her to work towards her master's degree in aeronautical engineering at the university of Michigan. She was the first woman to earn this distinction in 1929. Before she was able to start her full time career, she was struck with polio and doctors told her that she would probably spent the rest of her life in a wheel chair. She refused to accept their prognosis and forced her self to learn to walk again with two strong walking sticks. To help pay her doctor bills, she wrote magazine articles about planes and flying. In 1934, she worked for fair child aircraft limited in Quebec as an assistant aeronautical engineer specializing in stress analysis. In addition, she held many important positions in the aeronautics industry, she is best known for her work during world war two as chief engineer for the Canadian car and foundry company. She oversaw the production of the hawker hurricane in Canada, and she designed a serious of modifications to equip the hurricane for cold weather flying. Therefore, her success in the fields of aeronautical engineering helped her to be a determined resident who did a great job helping the entire world and she fought her fears and disability, to gain a good future for herself and for women all over Canada.In 1938, Canadian car and Foundry Company appointed Dr. MacGill as chief aeronautical engineer. She designed and tested the Maple Leaf Trainer, a two seats, fabric covered plane described by aviation experts as a beautiful aircraft. It was flown in Canada by a number of civilian pilots. Adding another " first " to her already growing list of accomplishments, she became the first woman aircraft designer in the world, but, it was known at this time that women have no opportunities or rights. Although she never achieved her dream of becoming a pilot (as a result of her disability), she insisted on always being a passenger on all test flights. According to her, this was how she could best assess the aircrafts performance. In addition, in 1938, Dr. MacGill was elected as the first woman corporate member of the engineering institute of Canada. Elsie married E.J. (William) in 1943, a widower with two children. It was at his time that she moved to Toronto and started her own private consulting firm specializing in aeronautical engineering. In 1953, she had been the first non-American to be named " woman engineer of the year " by the American Society of Women Engineers. At the age of 70, Elsie, who never did pilot a plane, was given the Amelia Earhart Medal by the International Association of Women Pilots. Finally, she did a great job that not a man could do at this time, which led to her great success. Therefore, she is a determined woman who created and designed airplanes to help people all over the world, moreover, she broke the rules that says women have no rights and are not considered persons, because she showed how women are genius and willing to do great inventions just like men.The word "first" ran in the MacGill family. Elsie MacGill's mother, Helen Gregory MacGill, become the first woman judge in British Columbia. No doubt, the younger MacGill was raised to believe that women and men should be equal in society. Elsie MacGill was active in women's organisations and the women's movement. She was a prominent member of the Toronto Business and Professional Women's Club after her move to that city. From the 1950's until the end of her life, Elsie was involved in campaigns for several causes affecting the status of women, such as paid maternity leave, day care facilities and liberalisation of abortion laws. This led to her 1967 appointment as the " sole feminist "commissioner on the royal commission on the status of women in Canada. Elsie also took then the unusual step of keeping her maiden name when she married in 1943, perhaps as an acknowledgement of her mother's influence on her life. At last, she is recognized as a purposeful citizen, because she helped women all over the world to get a better life, opportunities, education, and work.In conclusion, Elizabeth MacGill was a remarkable woman of many accomplishments; she was an engineer, advisor, author, commissioner, and a strong advocate of women's rights. Elsie was an ambitious person, which had in courage not only every woman, but also every man to work hard to benefit themselves, their future, and every body else. Elsie MacGill paved the way for a generation of young women, inspiring them and showing by example that any goal in life is attainable through hard work and determination. She worked tirelessly until her death in 1980.


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