Madeleine Parent, a Quebec trade union activist and feminist best remembered for organizing textile workers in the 1940s, died in Montreal earlier this month at the age of 93. Parent devoted her life to union activism and feminist causes, beginning in 1942, when she organized a strike against Dominion Textile on behalf of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
In 1947, Parent was charged with seditious conspiracy for her role in organizing Dominion Textile workers and sentenced to two years in prison – a sentence she never served after a new trial was ordered. In the second trial, in 1955, she was acquitted after just 30 minutes of deliberation.
Sister Parent's union activism on behalf of textile workers in Montreal, Valleyfield and Lachute – and later throughout Ontario– turned her into a lifelong advocate for the rights of poor working women and a fighter for equal pay for work of equal value. She remained an activist well into her retirement.
Madeleine Parent retired from the union movement in 1983 but remained an outspoken feminist, becoming a founding member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women.