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Improving Official Statistics

Podcast Episode on Sylvia Ostry

If this is the first time you’re hearing about Sylvia Ostry, buckle up.

Sylvia was appointed Canada’s first and only female Chief Statistician in 1972, but she didn’t get there by playing by the rules. She was ambitious but grew up in a world where many thought that it was shameful to be female and have a career.

Sylvia was a Jewish woman in economics, and even after she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in 1954, she was denied a job with the United Nations because of her gender. Nevertheless, she had a storied career, becoming the Chairman of the Economic Council of Canada then the Chief Economist at the OECD. But we’re not focusing on her career highlights. We’re going behind the scenes to look at how she challenged herself to succeed, becoming both a respected economist and mother, and how she handled setbacks, and discrimination, all while staying true to herself and demonstrating the integrity for which she’s remembered today.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of her appointment as chief statistician, we’re celebrating Sylvia Ostry, one of the world’s leading economists and one of the most accomplished public servants of her generation. In this episode of Eh Sayers, featuring interviews with her sons, Adam Ostry and Jonathan Ostry, we are pleased to introduce you to this remarkable woman and to share with you eight pieces of advice inspired by her life.