HomeAbout the project

About the project

Overview of the project

The University of Ottawa Library is actively seeking content from women about their experiences of and during the COVID-19 pandemic as we recognize the importance of collecting gender-based stories for future understanding and research on the impact of this unprecedented time in recent memory. Women throughout Canada will be given the opportunity to upload their content to a platform where it will be captured, preserved, and made available to researchers as part of the Women’s Archives collections at the Library’s Archives and Special Collections unit.

Visit the COVID-19: Telling her-stories collection

As we digitally archive your contributions, they will be made  available online in the Archives and Special Collections database. Explore the collection.


Traditionally, archives have passively waited for donors to reach out to them with records for donation, however, in this case, we will actively approach the community for contributions and donors will be able to quickly upload their content directly through a specially designed platform. This approach is currently being implemented by GLAMs across Canada and the U.S. who understand the magnitude of the pandemic and the importance of capturing people’s immediate response. Our team has designed the platform using the open-source web publishing system called Omeka. With the help of our supporters and community of users, we will reach out to our target community of women across the country and from all different backgrounds and experiences. Once content has been uploaded to the platform, it will be reviewed, described, processed for preservation, and made available long-term to those interested in the topic. The content will become part of the Library’s Women’s Archives collections and accessible on the Library’s website and archives collection database.


Members of OSDI (Open Scholarship and Digital Initiatives) and ASC (Arts and Special Collections) have come together on this special project bringing their expertise to various areas.

Yoo Young Lee is the Open Scholarship and Digital Initiatives Librarian and is the project lead.  After reading about the anecdotal evidence that COVID-19 is having a greater impact on women, she came up with the idea of trying to gather the stories and experiences of women in the community. Yoo Young’s technical expertise and passion for open and accessible information and resources is the driving force behind this project.

Roxanne Lafleur is the Digital Humanities Support Specialist and is the Library’s in-house Omeka expert and has been fundamental in building the platform. Roxanne, as an artist, also brings with her a keen sense of design which helped us to ensure the platform’s aesthetics were on-point.

Satya Miller is the Digital Archivist at Archives and Special Collections working with born digital material in the Women’s Archives. Satya brings her knowledge in digital preservation and looks forward to helping make these stories and voices of women available.

Marina Bokovay is the Head of Archives and Special Collections. When Yoo Young approached her with the idea for the project, she was very enthusiastic as she understands the importance of capturing the voice (and record) of women. Responsible for the Women’s Archives, she saw this project as fitting nicely with that collection and supporting the Library’s strategic goal of expanding, preserving and promoting unique special collections. Marina, and her team at the Archives, also bring expertise in the field of digital preservation and will ensure that the content provided by contributors will be permanently cared for and made available.

Reading List 

Flaherty, C. (2020, April 21). No Room of One’s Own: Early journal submission data suggest COVID-19 is tanking women’s research productivity. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/21/early-journal-submission-data-suggest-covid-19-tanking-womens-research-productivity

Gupta, A. H. (2020, April 3). Does Covid-19 Hit Women and Men Differently? U.S. Isn’t Keeping Track. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/us/coronavirus-male-female-data-bias.html

Henriques, M. (2020, April 12). Why Covid-19 is different for men and women. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200409-why-covid-19-is-different-for-men-and-women

Lewis, H. (2020, March 19). The Coronavirus Is a Disaster for Feminism. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/03/feminism-womens-rights-coronavirus-covid19/608302/

Minello, A. (2020). The pandemic and the female academic. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-020-01135-9

Özbay, N. (2020, April 8). The gendered impact of Covid-19. Apolitical. https://apolitical.co/en/solution_article/the-gendered-impact-of-covid-19

Stroh, P. (2020, August 17). Pandemic threatens to wipe out decades of progress for working mothers. CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/women-employment-covid-economy-1.5685463 

The Facts: Learn the Reality About A Pandemic’s Effect On Women. (n.d.). Canadian Women’s Foundation. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://canadianwomen.org/the-facts/women-and-pandemics/

United Nations. (2020). Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women. UN Women. Retrieved May 10, 2020, from https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2020/04/policy-brief-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-women

Wenham, C., Smith, J., & Morgan, R. (2020). COVID-19: The gendered impacts of the outbreak. The Lancet, 395(10227), 846–848. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30526-2

More references en français.