Women’s Empowerment Through Music commemorates the centenary of women’s right to vote in Canada, which started with Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1916, followed by British Columbia and Ontario in 1917.  This new initiative by the Coalition for Music Education seeks to show how music can be used as an expression of social justice.  Women’s Empowerment Through Music celebrates the pathways to equality by honouring women over the past 100 years who were empowered by, or who empowered others through music.

Every social justice movement is accompanied by music in some way, such as protest songs, music at rallies, chants, etc.  It often includes leadership by prominent entertainers of the times, with many musicians becoming “change agents” for social justice issues.  Music is often used to articulate the spirit of change. It can motivate communities to take action.  Music has empowered individuals and social movements.

The project is part of the Youth4Music program.  Its objectives are to link young people with their Canadian heritage of women’s suffrage, social justice, leadership and civic engagement.

We will share your input in upcoming Coalition e-newsletters.  We will present a catalogue of influential women and music on this page and through social media.  A “learning and teaching module” will be ready for the start of the 2016-2017 School Year.

Through this project we will:

Create a catalogue

of prominent Canadian women who were empowered by, or who empowered others through music, such as musicians, songwriters, composers, music executives, social justice leaders, educators, politicians, and more.
Ideas? Tell us!


Provide Resources

such as a “learning and teaching module”, which will explore the connection between music, and women’s equality and empowerment.

Download BREAD & ROSES Teaching Module PPT
Download FINDING A VOICE Teaching Module PPT

Gather Stories

from families and communities about music and women, especially how music was part of the women’s rights movement in Canada
Stories to share?  Tell us!

Identify music

created by prominent Canadian women who were socially inspired and motivating
Suggestions?  Tell us!

For more information

For more information, contact Ashley Boychuk, Program Coordinator.


Help build a catalogue of Canadian women  who were empowered by, or who empowered others through music.  These references will become part of the “learning and teaching module” for teachers and students to use in Social Studies classes.  

What music by Canadian women empowered the generations from 1916 to 2016?  Let us know.  Tell us the music title, songwriter or composer, and what inspired this choice (i.e. lyrics or the music’s influence).


“Rise Up”, Parachute Club, 1983 music and lyrics by Lorraine Segato, Lauri Conger, Billy Bryans and Steve Webster, with lyrics contributed by filmmaker Lynne Fernie.

“Talkin’ ’bout the right time to be workin’ for peace

Wantin’ all the tension in the world to ease

We wantin’ love while walking on the streets

We want to be free, we want that be free”

(Oh Rise Up) and show your power

“Powerless (Say What You Want)”, Nelly Furtado, 2003

“Cuz this life is too short to live it just for you
But when you feel so powerless what are you gonna do
So say what you want
Say what you want”

Is there a story in your family or community about women you know who were empowered by music, or were empowering through their music?

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada.