Human Rights Champion
Julie Delahanty has led an inspiring career as a champion of human rights and gender equality since obtaining her Bachelor of Law in 1992 and Master of International Affairs 1995 at Carleton University.
Today, as the executive director of Oxfam Canada, Delahanty is dedicated to promoting progress in these areas, both in Canada and abroad.
Reflecting on her time as a Law and Legal Studies undergraduate at Carleton, Delahanty recalls the rigorous academics and the passion and enthusiasm of the faculty. As a student, she was engaged by the department’s focus on social justice and critical analysis.
“Many of the professors were role models for me,” she says. “There were very strong feminist thinkers in the department. I felt like they were so important intellectually, but also gave me so much support and encouragement personally.”
Early in her career, Delahanty joined the North-South Institute and worked on issues related to women’s rights internationally. In the late 1990s, she helped to launch the institute’s Gender and Economic Reforms in Africa Program, which supported African women’s organizations to advance economic rights for women.
Delahanty has also worked to advance human rights in Bangladesh, Iraq, Central America and Pakistan.
She joined Oxfam in 2014 after years with the Canadian International Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, where she held a number of posts, including director of the Central America Program, director of the Gender Equality and Child Protection Division and deputy director for International Women’s Equality.
While her international work is extensive, Delahanty remains dedicated to advancing the rights of women in Canada. During the 2015 federal election, she led Oxfam Canada’s involvement in the “Up For Debate” campaign, which called on party leaders to offer measurable commitments to improving women’s lives.
In our connected world, action to advance gender equality at home can have a wide reach.
“Solidarity work shows global connections and alliances, leading to change in other countries,” Delahanty says. “In today’s world, activism in Canada will have an international impact.”