Robertine Barry is best known as the first woman journalist in French Canada. She was a well-known personality in Montreal society, championing the rights of women through her journalistic work as well as being a popular lecturer and supporter of literary and charitable causes.
Barry began her career as journalist in 1891 when she joined the staff of the liberal weekly newspaper, La Patrie. During the almost ten-year span that Barry worked at La Patrie, she wrote a weekly column, "Chroniques du lundi", under the pen-name of Françoise. Barry is remembered for having inaugurated the women's page in French-Canadian journalism while at La Patrie. Robertine's major accomplishment as a journalist was the founding of Le Journal de Françoise, a bimonthly review which she published from 1902 to 1909. The magazine, subtitled "Le Gazette canadienne de la famille", offered a wide variety of features intended primarily for women. The magazine also reflected Barry's interest in literature, publishing works of distinguished Quebec writers such as Laure Conan (Félicité Angers) and Émile Nelligan.
Barry also wrote fictional works, publishing in 1895 Les fleurs champêtres, a collection of short stories and sketches, some of which had been previously published in La Patrie. Barry published a collection of her weekly columns from La Patrie, entitling the book after her column, Chroniques du lundi.
Throughout her career, Barry championed social justice and women's rights. She promoted vocational training for women and women's right of access to education at all levels. Barry recognized the importance of public libraries lobbying for the establishment of a municipal library in Montreal and assisting in the creation of libraries in two Quebec communities. In 1909, Barry was named, by the Quebec government, inspector of women's working conditions.
Barry was appointed by the Canadian government as one of the Canadian women representatives to the 1900 Paris International Exhibition. Barry participated in the International Women's Congress held in conjunction with the Exhibition. For the occasion, the Canadian government published Women of Canada : their life and work, prepared by the National Council of Women of Canada. Barry contributed an essay to this handbook, "French Canadian women in literature". In 1904, the French government named Barry "Officier de l'Académie" in recognition of her contribution to French culture. Barry also held the position of President of the Women's Press Club of Canada.
Robertine Barry is remembered as both a pioneer of feminism and journalism. A modern, independent, highly regarded professional, she used her position to advance the conditions of women of her time.
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Carrier, Anne. Une pionnière du journalisme féministe québécois: Françoise, pseudonyme de Robertine Barry. Québec : Groupe de recherche multidisciplinaire féministe, Université Laval, [1988?]. 109 p. (Les Cahiers de recherche du GREMF ; 16)
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Des Ormes, Renée (pseudonym of M.-L. Turgeon née Ferland). Robertine Barry : en litérature Françoise : pionnière du journalisme féminin au Canada, 1863-1910. --Québec : L'Action Sociale, 1949. 159 p.
Françoise. Chroniques du lundi. [S.l. : s.n., s.d.] 325 p.
Françoise. Fleurs, champêtres suivi d'autres nouvelles et de récits ; et Méprise : comédie inédite en un acte. Édition préparée et présentée par Gilles Lamontagne. Montréal : Fides, 1984. 320 p. (Collection du Nénuphar ; 61)
Le Journal de Françoise. - Vol. 1 ( 29 mars 1902) - Vol. 7 (15 avril 1909). - Montréal : Valiquette & Dubé, 1902-1909.