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Canada: The Famous Five (Women)
Transcript of Canada: The Famous Five (Women)
How the Women got the Vote in Canada
The Impact of the Famous Five on Canada and on Canadians
The Persons Case
"This decision marks the
abolition of sex in politics...
We sought to establish the personal
individuality of women and this
decision is the announcement of our
victory. It has been an uphill fight."
- Henrietta Muir Edwards
"The purpose of women's life is just the same as the purpose of man's life...that she may make the best possible contribution to the generation in which she is living."
- Louise McKinney
She was a teacher, a provincial politician and a women's right activist...
"Whenever I don't know whether to fight or not, I fight."
- Emily Murphy
Henrietta Muir Edwards
"Evolution cannot be brought about by the use of dynamite."
- Irene Parlby
Formal: Honorable Irene Parlby, MLA
"For the first time I saw the power of speech. I saw faces brighten, eyes glisten, and felt the atmosphere crackle with a new power. I saw what could be done with words, for I had one vision of a new world as I talked."
- Nellie McClung
She is the leader of the Famous Five.
She was the first woman appointed to the Edmonton Hospital Board
Following the success of the Person's Case led by five valiant women, the evolution of women's rights and human rights in Canada were moved forward.
Canadian women receive the same education as men.
Women are able to attend college to attain professional degrees. Educated women can now have an equal place in society.
Canada became a freer country. Canadian women and men have equal rights and freedom under the Canadian Charter Rights and Freedom.
Kim Campbell became the first female prime minister in 1993. She served as the 19th prime minister of Canada.
Cairine Wilson was appointed to the Canadian Senate. She was the first women to become a Senator.
Nellie McClung was a skillful speaker and she used humor to make her point. She said that "Our worthy opponents will emphasize the fact that women are the weaker vessel. Well I should think that a woman who cooks for men, washes and bakes and scrubs and sews for her family could stand the extra strain of marking a ballot every four years."
Nellie McClung being a member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union realized women needed the vote to influence politicians to ban alcohol.
She was a suffragist, novelist, reformer, legislator, and a teacher...
How the women got the vote in Canada
How McClung Influenced Public Opinion
Women can vote without judgment and have the right to give opinions in politics.
Universal Right to Vote in Canada was established, where women no matter the race, ethnicity , and religion can vote.
Canadian delegate to the League of Nations
She was a liberal member of the Alberta Legislature for Edmonton.
She was the first woman member of the CBC Board of Governors.
Women also have the right to hold public office.
Canadian women can choose their own professions.
Women have equal share of marital property. In case of separation, wives are entitled to half of the husbands' assets.
Women's economic power increased. Since women can have more education, they can seek better jobs which mean better salaries for them. They can have more freedom and independence as a result.
Women are freer to give their own opinions, to make their own decisions about how they live, where they want to live, and who they have as friends.
According the Government of Canada, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada website, "Canada is a world leader in the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality. These issues are central to Canada’s foreign and domestic policies. Canada is committed to the view that gender equality is not only a human rights issue, but is also an essential component of sustainable development, social justice, peace, and security."
Canada was involved in the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. These documents strive to provide protection, rights, and opportunities for women worldwide.
She established the National Council of Women.
She established the Victorian Order of Nurses.
She founded the Working Girls Association which led to the creation of Young Women's Christian Association.
Convenor of Women Rights, Canadian women's rights activist, Suffragist, Reformer and Author...
A woman's rights activist, jurist, author, and contributor of the Canadian feminism noting the question(s) they asked the Supreme Court of Canada.
She successfully passed the Dower Act which stated that a woman is allowed to have legal rights to one third of her husband's property.
She became the first female magistrate in Canada and in the British Empire.
She became the president of the new Federation of Women's Institutes.
She was a member of the Equal Franchise League and collaborated with Nellie McClung on the Women's Right to Vote case.
She published her own book called "The Black Candle", which is about drugs and racial tensions. She published her book under the name "Janey Canuck".
She published two handbooks which were 'Legal Status of Women in Canada (1917) and Legal Status of Women in Alberta (1921).
She worked on developing women's rights in both political and legal areas.
She was elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly, the first election in which Canadian women could run for vote.
McKinney was one of four women to sign the Basis of Union forming the United Church.
She was a supporter of the United Farmers of Alberta. She helped form the first women's local.
She was elected to the Alberta Legislature.
She was appointed Minister Without Portfolio.
She was the first woman Cabinet Minister in Alberta and second in the Commonwealth
She successfully sponsored the Minimum Wage for Women Act.
She was the first woman who was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Alberta.
She was a Women's right Activist, Alberta MLA, and Cabinet Minister...
Formal: Nellie McClung, MLA
McClung on the right side...
Nellie McClung and the women reformers created a play called "A Women's Parliament" for the purpose of swaying public opinion on women's right to vote. In some of her lines, she argued that "It's hard enough to keep them at home now ... Politics unsettle men and unsettled men means unsettled bills, broken furniture, broken vows, and divorce ... There is no use giving men the vote ... Man has a higher destiny than politics."
Her play was a huge success and audiences were amused. It helped to spread the message that women should have the right to vote.
The turning point...
Women's right to vote had public support but it didn't have government support so it still needed a breakthrough. A turning point came when Manitoba opposition leader, Liberal T.C Norris, promised the temperance group that he would give women the right to vote if he become Premier in the 1915 election. Norris won the election, and on January 28, 1916, Manitoba women became the first in the country to win the right to vote and to be elected to office.
Liberal T.C Norris
All women can now have the right to vote.
Poster of the Mock Parliament Play...
This picture shows how women's rights movement influenced women...
Before the year 1929, Canadian women were considered 'non-persons'.
Before 5 valiant women changed the course of history, women were not considered important in politics nor did they have rights equal to men in Canada.
Because of Section 24 of the BNA Act (1867) which states that only "qualified persons" (meaning that only men) could be elected, Canadian women could not be appointed to the Senate. One woman who was challenged for her position in Law was Emily Murphy.
In 1916, she became the first female magistrate in the British Empire and she got to sit in the Women's Court in Edmonton.
On her first day in court as a judge, a dissatisfied lawyer questioned her position because she was a woman, and women were not considered "persons" under the law. Therefore, it was argued that she should not be able to continue her judicial duties. To back up his argument, he turned to the decision rendered in 1867 by an English court where it stated that" Women are persons in matters of pains and penalties, but are not persons in matters of rights and privileges".
Following the case of Judge Emily Murphy against gender bias, the Supreme Court of Alberta, in 1917, ruled that women were persons. The rule was only in effect within Alberta. Since women were allowed to vote and run for politics in 1916, Emily Murphy took the chance to enter her name as a candidate for the Senate at the federal level of government. However, the Canadian Prime Minister at that time, Sir Robert Borden, rejected Murphy for the reason that she was not considered a person under the BNA Act (British North America Act).
How It Started!
It was legitimate that Emily Murphy was appointed to judicial obligations which were confirmed by the Supreme Court of Alberta. This matter had become a controversy then not just in Alberta but in all provinces of Canada. In fact, it was a spark to the women's cause.
Women in law. Female lawyers and judges may have more understanding of a woman's point of view in a trial.
Women in medicine. Female doctors may focus more on women's health issues. They may have a better understanding of the female body.
Women in politics. Women politicians may have more sympathy towards women's issues.
Emily Murphy took a step forward...
She invited these four women...
Together they debated with the Supreme Court of Canada for more than a decade.
"Does the word 'Persons' in Section 24 of the British North America Act of 1867, include female persons?".
Supreme Court of Canada responded negatively!
Prime Minister Mackenzie King (active 1935-1948)
His Minister of Justice
...thought that it would be an act of justice to the women of Canada to allow their wish.
Supreme Court of Canada
Judicial Commitee of the Pivy Council in England
Lord Chancellor of the Privy Council, Lord John Sankey (active 1929-1935)
to the savior...
October 18, 1929- women were declared as "persons"
The Privy Council:
"the exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word "persons" should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?"
Reenactment of Emily Murphy
Formal: Louise McKinney, MLA
Sir Robert Borden
The Famous Five laid the foundation for Canada's foreign policy regarding women's issues by fighting for women's rights in Canada.
Canadian soldiers, both men and women, fought and died to protect women's rights in many parts of the world.
End of Presentation.
Thank you for watching :)
Reenactment of Nellie McClung debating for Women's right to vote