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8178: Haitian Woman New Head of Quebec Women's Organization (fwd)
While visiting my family in Montreal, I saw this article in today's Montreal
Monday 4 June 2001
Women's federation changes hands
CEGEP teacher Vivian Barbot, born in Haiti and with a long record of union
activism, is acclaimed president of the Quebec Women's Federation, succeeding
CEGEP teacher Vivian Barbot, a 59-year-old Quebecer of Haitian origin, has
become the Quebec Federation of Women's first president from a visible
She said she hopes her being named as president of Quebec's largest women's
organization will serve as an inspiration to other women from ethnic
"I hope my presence will be seen as a sign of recognition of the multi-ethnic
character of Quebec and a tangible sign of openness of the federation and
Quebec society in general," said Barbot, who has served for the past two
years as the federation's vice-president and also sits on its
She made her comments at a press conference after she was acclaimed president
at the federation's annual meeting.
Barbot takes over the $40,000-a-year job from Francoise David.
David, who held the presidency for seven years, was widely loved and admired.
Among other things, David was the instigator of the 1995 Bread and Roses
March from Montreal to Quebec City against poverty and was a main force
behind last year's World March of Women.
While she was president, the number of organizations belonging to the
federation grew to 160 from 60. As well, individual memberships climbed to
800 from 100.
Having completed the maximum three terms allowed under the federation's
constitution (as well as the tail end of a predecessor's mandate,) David had
no choice but to retire.
She is considering starting up a provincial political party that would be a
feminist alternative to what exists now. But she will first take the summer
off to reflect upon that option before making any announcement, she said.
Barbot said that while she can never replace David, she plans to continue the
same strong leadership role.
Barbot's activism to date includes serving on a women's committee at her
local teachers' union at CEGEP de Victoriaville. As well, she served as
president of the Federation des Enseignantes et Enseignants de CEGEPS,
affiliated with the Centrale des Syndicats du Quebec.
Going by her family history, it appears activism is in her blood.
>From in 1963, she and her family spent 21 months living in the Argentinian
embassy in Haiti, she said in an interview after the press conference.
Her father, Clement Barbot, was a political figure opposing the Duvalier
dictatorship, and the family sought protection at the embassy, she said.
In 1965, the family lived as exiles in Argentina. There she met the man who
would become her husband, Real Lymburner. The Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu man
was traveling in Argentina at the time.
Barbot immigrated to Canada in 1967. She and her husband have lived for the
past 30 years in Durham Sud in the Eastern Townships where Barbot teaches
French at the CEGEP and her husband is a sociologist.
The couple has two sons, ages 29 and 26, and a daughter, 22.
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