Thirty years ago today — December 6th, 1989 — some asshole went into École Polytechnique de Montréal (“Polytechnic School of Montreal” in English, an engineering school) and fatally shot 14 young women who were studying to be engineers. The asshole, who himself had failed to gain admission to the university, shouted, “You’re all a bunch of feminists and I hate feminists!”
I was an engineering student at Queen’s University at the time of the tragedy, and I remember the day — and the debates — that happened then. As a techie who grew up in Canada, I’m making it a point to remember the names of the women who lost their lives that day — all because they simply wanted to be engineers:
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- Geneviève Bergeron (1968–1989), civil engineering student
- Hélène Colgan (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Nathalie Croteau (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Barbara Daigneault (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Anne-Marie Edward (1968–1989), chemical engineering student
- Maud Haviernick (1960–1989), materials engineering student
- Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (1958–1989), nursing student
- Maryse Laganière (1964–1989), budget clerk at the school’s finance department
- Maryse Leclair (1966–1989), materials engineering student
- Anne-Marie Lemay (1967–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Sonia Pelletier (1961–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Michèle Richard (1968–1989), materials engineering student
- Annie St-Arneault (1966–1989), mechanical engineering student
- Annie Turcotte (1969–1989), materials engineering student
In memory of this event, Canada’s parliament declared December 6th the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in 1991. Let’s not forget what happened then, and let’s remember that even today, thirty years later, will still have to contend with people who hold women in the same low regard as the asshole who opened fire on that classroom.
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- How engineers of the Montreal Massacre generation are changing the world: Accomplished women share thoughts on their engineering careers and impact of the tragedy.
- 30 Years Later: “To commemorate this tragic event and to promote the outstanding work of female engineers across Canada, Engineering Deans Canada invited each of the Canadian engineering schools that offered an accredited engineering program in 1989 to put forward the story of an engineering alumna who graduated within three years of the massacre (1986-1992), and whose career exemplifies the value that women bring to the engineering profession and to society.”
- ‘Hate is infectious’: how the 1989 mass shooting of 14 women echoes today. The massacre at Montreal’s Polytechnique school, fueled by misogyny, is not a horrifying memory confined to a bygone era – rather it seems like a foretelling of things to come
- Polytechnique: These women scientists are too young to remember the massacre, but it changed their lives. It has been 30 years since the deadly massacre at École Polytechnique – a time today’s young students don’t remember because they weren’t yet alive. However, the murders on Dec. 6, 1989 of 14 women, targeting them in an act against feminism, changed Montreal as a whole and sparked a greater conversation about women in science.
- In the thirty years since École Polytechnique: Seeing the connections between thirty years ago and today.
- Herstories: Book honours 14 women killed at Polytechnique 30 years ago. “But 30 years later, how much do we know about the women who died in the shooting at École Polytechnique? What did each accomplish in her short life? What hopes and dreams did she leaved unfulfilled when she was gunned down on Dec. 6, 1989? As a sombre anniversary dawns, these are among the questions addressed in a new book by journalist Josée Boileau. Ce jour-là: Parce qu’elles étaient des femmes [In English: That day: Because they were women] revisits a dark day in history.”
- Violent misogyny is a threat to half our population. We need to call it what it is: Terrorism. “The Montreal massacre of 1989 was just one in a long line of mass killings motivated by hatred of women. What would happen, and how many lives could be saved, if we treated them as a pattern of hate crimes?”
Why I don’t refer to the shooter by name, but just as “some asshole”
I wish it was my idea, but it came from Justin Pierce’s webcomic Wonderella: