Birker Carrie Derick

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Carrie Derick is not only remembered as the first Canadian woman geneticist and full professor, but also as an active advocate for women’s rights. Born in Clarenceville, Quebec in 1861, Carrie Derick showed excellence in her early studies. She followed teacher training at the McGill Normal School in Montreal, as well as earned her Master’s degree in Botany in four years despite holding two jobs at the same time. Thereafter, Derick faced multiple challenges for the recognition of her dedication and of the quality of her work. From rank position and pay inequalities to the impossibility for her to be granted a PhD at the University of Bonn despite having completed her research in five years, Derrick was finally appointed as professor in 1912 after 16 years of service as a lecturer and researcher at McGill. Yet, Derrick’s resilience allowed her to overcome these barriers and advance in her career and political involvement. She created a course in “Evolution and Genetics”, the first of its kind in Canada, as well as wrote multiple articles on botany. She also was the President of the Montreal Local Council of Women and the Montreal Suffrage Association, and a Member of Advisory Committee of the Montreal Women’s Liberal Club and the Convener of the Study Group of the Club.