It took Janet Stewart a considerable amount of time to come to the realization that her upbringing was not a typical one. Born into a relatively affluent family that moved from Hartford, Connecticut to Waterloo when Janet was nine years old, she was afforded the opportunity to attend one of Toronto’s most prestigious boarding schools, St. Mildred’s.
This move to a stifling environment in the big city at such a young age might not have been ideal in a 12-year-old Janet’s mind, however it did provide the young girl with a measure of relief from a sometimes difficult home life.
Janet’s time at St. Mildred’s equipped her with the skill set she would require in order to survive in a competitive, male-dominated environment at the University of Toronto. Upon completing an undergraduate degree, Ms. Stewart decided to attend Osgoode Law School, and from there joined a top London law firm.
Now out of the protective financial blanket provided by her family, Janet began to develop an appreciation of just how lucky she had been in life, and used that realization to provide support for others who had not been as fortunate.
As a successful lawyer, Janet provided council for women who faced abject discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, she became involved in community projects within London, acting as a founder of the city’s Big Sisters organization in 1974.
Janet Stewart achieved a great deal in educational and professional environments that had very low female participation figures. That she became an influential voice in those environments is an even more impressive achievement, and her body of work helps many young women in the London area to the day.