Barbara Murphy was born in Winnipeg. She graduated from McGill University and moved to Ottawa, where she worked for the Children’s Aid Society and as director of day care services. While a full-time working mom, she pursued post-graduate studies as a part-time student at Carleton University and obtained an M.A. in Sociology and M.SW. She taught courses in social policy and worked as a social policy consultant. Her books Why Women Bury Men: The Longevity Gap in Canada, The Ugly Canadian: The Rise and Fall of a Caring Society, On the Street: How We Created the Homeless, and Eating the Wedding Gifts: Lean Years After Marriage Break-Up explore issues that affect the social structure of Canadian society. Barbara Murphy died in 2019.