Women of Interest – Alice Wilson

Alice Wilson

Alice Wilson, (August 26, 1881-April 15, 1964) was the first female geologist and paleontologist in Canada. She also became the first female Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1937 and was a member of the Order of the British Empire. During her life Alice Wilson struggled against health issues, along with the struggle to receive recognition in a field that was not considered a traditional career path for women. However, her strong determination carried her through. Beginning in 1913 Wilson studied rocks and fossils in the Ottawa area and continued this work until just before her death in 1963. From 1909 until 1963 Wilson was a museum assistant at the Geological Survey of Canada located in Ottawa. Wilson won a scholarship in 1919 from the Canadian Federation of University Women, but it would be seven years before she was granted leave by her employer to pursue her PhD, which she obtained in 1929 at the age of 48. During her retirement Wilson continued her work and eventually wrote a book on geology for children.

“There were many barriers along the way, but I would like to think that other women are finding it easier now. At least nobody can say that a woman cannot achieve as much as a man!”
– Alice Wilson.


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