A total of 76 women were elected to the House of Commons during Monday’s federal election, up from 68 in 2008. Elizabeth May mad history by being elected on the Green Party ticket. Progressives, under the NDP banner elected 102 MPs.
But we’ve Albertan Emily Murphy and the Famous Five to thank for these milestones. They started it all in 1929.
Until then, Canadian women weren’t constitutionally recognized as persons. Emily Murphy, a suffragist and reformer, initiated the battle for legal personhood for women. She was supported by Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie Mcclung, Irene Parlby and Louise McKinney. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected their case in 1928.
But on October 29, 1929, the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council decided in their favour, effectively giving Canadian women the right to hold any appointed or elected office. These heroic women came to be known as the “Famous Five”. That’s the day most of the barriers were broken.
But there’s more work ahead. Our politics and Ottawa desperately need a radical makeover to reflect the diversity that makes Canada the unique country it is.
The Canadian Progressive recommends:
- Stephen Harper’s Chronic “Women Problem”
- On International Women’s Day, A Focus on Canada’s Gender Deficit