Interview: Greta Hofmann Nemiroff
Greta Hofmann Nemiroff is a feminist educator and Director of the New School, Dawson College, in Montreal. She is a feminist writer and has been Quebec Director of CCLOW for several years. She is interviewed here, for WEDF, by Susan McCrae Vander Voet, an independent consultant and former Executive Director of CCLOW.
Susan: How did you come to be interested in teaching women's studies?
Greta: When I was an English student. I always found myself writing papers on women characters and authors. As a teacher of English at Concordia in about 1968, I made sure to include material on women. But it wasn't really until another friend, a philosophy teacher and I got together to try and discuss some papers we were writing, between the demands of our three babies, that we realized we needed to be writing about ourselves, as women.
This led to the first women's studies course at Concordia in 1970, which might also have been the first formal course offered for credit, in Canada. We decided to hold it in the evening in order to attract older women, as well as the younger university students.
Susan: Did you notice any difference between the older and younger women in the course?
Greta: Oh, yes. Some of the older women had a much better sense of the material, because they had lived the reality of women's lives. Many of them were trying to return to work after raising families, or had found themselves alone with their children, either as widows, or separated, after many years of marriage. Many of them could see that marriage wasn't a guarantee of security.