Montreal-born and raised, Françoise David is a feminist, ecologist, alterglobalist and social justice activist. She graduated with a degree in social work from the University of Montréal. Between 1972 and 1977, Ms. David worked for the Agence de service social [social services agency] in Montréal’s Centre-South neighbourhood where she helped found the Centre de rencontre et d’information [meeting and information centre]. Between 1977 and 1980, she was the resource person at the Carrefour des familles monoparentales du Québec [single parent association of Québec]. In 1982, she joined the staff of the Centre de services sociaux du Montréal métropolitain (CSSMM) [metropolitan Montréal social services centre] as the organization’s communications officer and remained in that position until 1987. During that time, Françoise David was the president of her local union. In 1987, she moved to become coordinator of the Regroupement des Centres des femmes, and from 1994 to 2001, she was president of the Fédération des femmes du Québec [Québec federation of women].
Among Ms. David’s greatest achievements are the “Bread and Roses” March of Women against Poverty. More than 15,000 women marched in towns and villages throughout Quebec, 550 of them remained with the march for 10 days – arriving at a rally held in Québec City on June 4, 1995. This was followed by the monumental World March of Women Against Poverty and Violence, in the fall of 2000.
Françoise David has fought for minimum wage increases, improvements to alimony and child support laws, a reduced sponsorship period for immigrants, and greater access for women to professional training and public housing.
The accolades and awards bestowed on Françoise David are many. In 1999, she was appointed a Knight of the National Order of Quebec; in 2002, she helped found the collectif D’abord solidaires, and in 2004, the Option citoyenne of the feminist and alterglobalist movements. She signed the Manifeste pour un Québec solidaire [manifesto for Québec solidarity] in 2005. In 2006, Option citoyenne and the Union des forces progressistes merged to form an alternative, leftist political party: Québec solidaire, for which Françoise David is now spokesperson.