Because it’s 2016, Canadians are recognizing 100 years of the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Canada. Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp. The Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women will be celebrating this milestone at their upcoming national convention in Calgary. Equal Voice will mark this anniversary with the unique initiative “Daughters of the Vote” involving young women from every federal riding in Canada. (https://youtu.be/jvs_T-AAU0I) These are just a few examples of an important celebration! Below is an updated version of a blog that was originally posted in October, 2015 prior to the federal election. It’s a tribute to the women of the past who worked so hard to build a better society for us.
Voting is a right, a privilege and a responsibility and should not be met with apathy. For women, it is a right that had to be won. It was in 1916, only 100 short years ago, when women were first given the right to vote in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Other provinces followed but it was a long journey until all women in Canada were eligible to vote.
Five Canadian women, known as the “Famous Five”, are most recognized for their leadership in the women’s suffrage movement in Canadian history. Nellie McClung, is credited with working to establish women’s right to vote. She later joined Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby when they networked together to win the case for women to be recognized as persons and eligible to be appointed to the Senate (1929). http://www.famou5.ca/the-famous-five-women/ . While Agnes Macphail was not one of the Famous Five, she is indeed a woman of renown. She was the first woman elected to the House of Commons (1921). http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/agnes-macphail/
With this look to our past…the words and images of these women remind us of their determination to gain recognition and rights for Canadian women. Their bios are rich with farm-raised, rural-rooted, community-minded, organization-leading history. They were committed, passionate and even a little fierce in their goals. They made their actions for the women of that time, but, they also spoke, rallied, performed, wrote and advocated for the generations that have followed.
Each generation has the hope of creating a better society for the next. As women, we share the duty and joy of ensuring ours is a society where all women progress and flourish. No matter our age, our role or our path, we have opportunities to mentor and develop the generation following us. These are legacy building privileges and responsibilities…to be greeted positively and not to be met with apathy!
- Joan Craig