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Dixon, Sophia (1900–94)

Sophia Dixon was a progressive thinker, writer, educator, and political activist. Born Sophia Rossander on April 1, 1900, in Denmark, she immigrated in 1911 with her family to homestead near Kerrobert. She later attended Normal School, taught for a time, and married a farmer in 1921. Her life of activism included involvement in the Progressive Party, the United Farmers of Canada (UFC) (Saskatchewan Section), the Farmers’ Union, the State Hospital and Medical League, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the co-operative movement, the credit union movement, and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). Leadership roles included serving as woman president of the UFC (Saskatchewan Section) and on the first federal council of the CCF. In 1952 Dixon became the first woman returning officer for Saskatoon. She was also a pioneer supporter of birth control, writing and speaking in favour of free dissemination of birth control information in the1920s and 1930s.

In 1954 a difficult period began. She was asked to wind up a company, Western Export Import Co., Ltd (WEICO), which had ties with SGIO and the CCF government. Accused of making profits from disposal of tractors the company had imported to sell to farmers, she was sued by the company. Dixon’s reputation suffered, but the Saskatchewan Court of Appeals and, eventually, the Supreme Court of Canada (in 1976), found in her favour. In 1979 Dixon was one of the first five women in Canada to receive the Person’s Award in recognition of her work for women and the co-operative movement. Subsequently she wrote, and spoke, for social justice. She died on April 14, 1994.

Elaine Hamm

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Further Reading

Clemence, V. 2004. Saskatchewan’s Own: People Who Made a Difference. Calgary: Fifth House; Taylor, G. 1980. “Sophia Dixon—Progressive Always—Indifferent Never,” Saskatoon History 1: 25–31.
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