© University of Toronto Class of 2020
Dr. May Cohen is a brilliant Canadian physician and women’s rights trailblazer.
For over 60 years, she has advocated powerfully in Canada and internationally for women’s reproductive rights, women’s health and women physicians’ advancement — and in the end, for us all.
May is widely recognized for her many contributions to women’s health, sexuality, abortion choice and human rights. Numerous medical awards bear her name.
The Gender Lady: The Fabulous Dr. May Cohen explores Dr. Cohen’s life and career and her extraordinary gender equity and human sexuality contributions.
This documentary was produced by two Canadian colleagues of May Cohen, family physicians and gender equity advocates Cheryl Levitt and Barbara Lent.
When May Cohen started her medical training in Toronto in the 1950’s, medicine was a male preserve. May’s parents were Jewish émigrés from Eastern Europe in the 1920’s. Her social consciousness arose from their progressive political engagement and activism in Canada and she became a passionate advocate for the pro-choice movement and for the rights of women. Using archival materials and interviews with May’s close colleagues and friends, this compelling film explores how influential and inspirational she has been in promoting gender issues in medical schools and the role of women doctors throughout the health sector. May’s impact in Canada and internationally simply cannot be overstated. Dr. May Cohen has demonstrated that it is possible for women to balance professional, family and personal interests — and change the world.