Hon. Lillian Eva
Honourable senators, in recognition of
International Women's Day, I would like to say a few words
about women in the sciences. In particular, I will highlight
the career of Dr. Suzanne Abrams, a brilliant chemist.
Honourable senators, when I was an
undergraduate biochemistry student at the University of
Saskatchewan in the 1960s, I never had a female professor at
all, let alone in the sciences. Today the situation has
improved, but we have not yet achieved gender equity, except
at the student levels in some sciences.
The large gains in the number of women
in the life sciences can be attributed to the efforts of
organizations formed in the 1970s and 1980s such as WISEST
and WinSETT, which have undertaken activities ranging from
science camps for girls to professional development for
Equally important are the individual
trailblazers, like Dr. Suzanne Abrams, at the National
Research Council of Canada Plant Biotechnology Institute in
Saskatoon, who, despite the formidable odds, has had a
successful career in science and has paved the way for other
women to succeed in science.
I congratulate Dr. Suzanne Abrams, who
was recently appointed the first female research director at
the Plant Biotechnology Institute in Saskatoon. She was also
the first woman research scientist on continuing
professional staff, and in 1984, when there were no
maternity benefits, Sue was the first research scientist on
staff to have a baby.
Sue obtained her PhD in synthetic
organic chemistry from Dalhousie University and joined the
NRC as a Research Associate in 1977. She was promoted to
Principal Research Officer in 2000. Sue is an
internationally recognized expert in plant hormone research
and is a world authority on the chemistry of the plant
hormone abscisic acid, a key signalling molecule that
regulates growth and development in plants.
Honourable senators, Dr. Abrams is an
awesome role model for inspiring girls and women who dream
about the chemistry of the world around us, animate and
inanimate. She is an inspiration to girls who are curious
about how the world works and who are eager to find
solutions to scientific puzzles.
Please join me in congratulating Dr.
Suzanne Abrams, the first female research director, National
Research Council of Canada Plant Biotechnology Institute,