Because They Were Women : The Montreal Massacre

By Josée Boileau

Translated By Chantal Bilodeau

A Feminist History Society Book Series

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Fourteen deaths that forced a reckoning with violence against women

Fourteen young women, murdered because they were women, are memorialized in this definitive account of the tragic day that forced a reckoning with violence against women in our culture. The victims of what became known as the “Montreal Massacre” are remembered, their lives cut short on December 6, 1989 when a man entered École Polytechnique and systematically shot every young woman he encountered. The killer was motivated by a misogyny whose roots go far beyond one man and one day. This book examines how December 6 precipitated an entire cultural shift in thinking around gender-based violence.

Praise & Recognition

“Boileau’s approach has the double effect of humanizing that list of names and ages we associate with December 6 and making the reader feel the loss of these young women and their futures all the more keenly.”

December 2020
Ce jour-là’s English publication is important, sharing the mourning across the two colonial language communities, and sharing some sense of agency as well. Montreal Review of Books
It highlights how far Quebec has come in the years since the massacre, which happened at a time when few women would publicly identify themselves as feminists. But just as importantly, it highlights how far there is still left to go.


Publication Date: November 10, 2020

Genre: Adult Nonfiction

Product Format: Paperback

Pages: 308

ISBN: 978-1-77260-142-8

Josée Boileau

About the Author

Josée Boileau

Josée Boileau has been a journalist for more than thirty years, many of those for Quebec’s Le Devoir newspaper, where she became Editor in Chief. Today, she is a current affairs commentator for CBC/Radio Canada and Chatelaine, and a book columnist for Journal de Montréal. She has received a number of honors, including the Hélène-Pednault prize in recognition of her feminist activism. She lives in Montreal.

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About the Translator

Chantal Bilodeau

Chantal Bilodeau is a Montreal-born, New York-based playwright and translator whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. She has translated over a dozen plays and half a dozen books from Quebec, France, and West Africa.

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