Margaret Newall is a Member of the Order of Canada, and holds honorary degrees from the Universities of Regina, Manitoba, and Calgary. She is a long-time supporter of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Margaret first learned about the devastating effects of domestic violence on young children when she worked as a school teacher. She later co-founded the Prairieaction Foundation, campaigning to broaden awareness and support for research and educational programs that prevent violence and abuse.
What motivates you to support the Canadian Women’s Foundation?
I became aware of domestic violence one day when my shadow fell across a boy in my class, and he threw up his arm to protect his head from an expected blow. That was a shock, since I had been lucky enough in my life never to encounter violence.
The Montreal Massacre on December 6, 1989, also had a huge effect on me. The attacker separated the men from the women and killed 14 young women before taking his own life.
When I learned about the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s work to help women escape domestic violence and gain financial independence, becoming a donor seemed like a natural way to build on the work that was already being done by the Prairieaction Foundation.
In your work on violence prevention, what have you learned about creating social change?
I learned how important it is for concerned citizens to work together to change policy and practice. Research also plays a key role. We need to know what works and what doesn’t if we hope to bring an end to domestic violence.
You have grandchildren. How do you hope the world changes for their generation?
I want them to live in a society where both men and women are treated with respect, and where they can all reach their full potential. I want them all to be able to live free from violence.