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One woman's words

Jennifer's Journal

In light of Women?s History Month in Canada, I have decided to highlight a courageous woman with a Weyburn background - Gladys Marguerite Arnold.

Some of you may have heard about this reporter before, but many more of you have not, I am sure. I only recently stumbled upon Gladys? story, or re-stumbled, to be accurate.

I like to watch documentaries and other informative television shows and often take notes when something piques my interest. While leafing through an old notebook, recently, I came across notes I had taken about this Saskatchewan trailblazer years earlier, when my own aspirations to be a reporter were but a dream.

Gladys Arnold was the sole Canadian journalist in France when the Nazi blitzkrieg advanced on Paris in 1940, an ominous place to be for a self-proclaimed pacifist. She was famously quoted as saying, ?I hope we don?t ever lose our desire to stop quarrels through peace and cooperation.?

Born in Macoun in 1905, Arnold later graduated from the Weyburn Collegiate high school. After taking a teaching position in Regina, she managed to talk her way into a job at the Leader Post writing editorials, columns and articles.

Arnold went overseas and continued to write for the Leader Post, as well as freelance articles for Canadian Press, becoming CP?s official correspondent in 1938. She left Paris only two days before the Nazis invaded.

Once back in Canada, Arnold helped start Free France at home. After the war, she was invited back to France and formerly thanked by French General de Gaulle and awarded France?s highest honour. Arnold was also honoured, along with other Canadian women, in New York City and was invited to a special meeting with President Roosevelt in Washington, D.C.

A modest woman, Arnold was quoted as saying, ?(We talk about) how remarkable we are as individuals, it depends on how we live our lives.?

Arnold wrote ?One Woman?s War? in 1987, which gives a vivid account of her days in France before the outbreak of World War II.

Women of Gladys Arnold?s time were restricted by a patriarchal society; however, she refused to be constrained by gender discrimination or social norms. She was determined to achieve success as a journalist and confident in her own abilities, allowing her to move beyond traditional expectations for women.

Gladys Arnold died in her hometown of Regina in 2002.

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