The expansion of women’s rights since 1914Women have been the minority and some may argue that they continue to be even to this day in the twentieth century. However, the rights of women have expanded since the 1900’s and women are powerful successful human beings in our society. Canada has matured and women have received the respect and acknowledgment that they always have deserved. Significant events have proven that women really do make society different and better. The expansion of women’s rights was and will always be significant to Canadian history.Women have always been around, mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers. Women’s suffrage groups have always existed and women have always attempted to get their voices heard. During the times of the war however, it was very difficult to ignore their arguments. Women’s suffrage groups believed in the right of women to vote in political elections and generally addressed issues of equality and wanted to improve the lives of women in Canada. Women fought for basic human rights. The suffrage movement existed to better the lives of women in all aspects, including healthcare and education. Women’s suffrage groups have had existed since the 1800’s and only by the nineteenth century had they finally began to get recognition. Canadian women did not stop protesting against discrimination and all their efforts finally led to voting privileges for some women. The very first province that granted women the right to vote was Manitoba in 1916. Following the vote granted in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta granted women the right to vote as well. In 1916 there were only three provinces to grant women the voting right, however following the next year, women were allowed to vote in both Ontario and British Columbia. The federal vote was granted to women in the year of 1918 which was an important event in the step toward the expansion of the rights of women in Canada. In the year of 1919 women had finally received the right to stand for office in the house of commons. A well known group of suffragists were known as the famous five. The famous five were five women from Alberta, Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards. In the month of October 1929 women had been finally declared as persons under Canadian law, this was all because of the famous five. In 1927, the Supreme Court of Canada was questioned whether the mention of the word “person” in the British North America Act included women. This caused many weeks of debate that finally ended when it had come to a decision that the word “person” did not include women. This is when the person’s case began, the person’s case was a very significant case that led to women being eligible to sit in the Canadian senate. Women’s suffragists did a lot for women and due to this movement, women were now serving in war, working in offices and had the voting privilege they had always desired.The war had opened up opportunities for women to spread their message and also to prove their importance. Before the outbreak of war, women could not vote nor hold office in Canada. Educational, Political, Social and employment opportunities were also very limited. With no political power, women had no protection nor rights. World War One was important to women as due to the war, Canadian men were drained and the introduction of conscription allowed women the chance to take over the roles of men temporarily, which was helpful to women to display their skills and value. Jobs that were once denied to women were now open to women. It was common for women to work in factories and produce war materials. Jobs that were labelled unsuitable for women were now taken by women themselves. Not only were jobs taken by women but new jobs had also been created for the war effort. Munitions factories employed the largest amount of women. Women could’ve been found in many areas of work, from railway guards to police, bank clerks and in engineering. Although women had now had many opporutunities in the workforce, they still were receiving low wages compared to men for doing the same work. Women who also worked producing weapons were putting their lives at risk by handling such hazardous chemicals and this caused many women to die from overexposure of poisonous substances. In addition to these jobs, women also volunteered and started fundraisers to help support the men fighting in the war. Women would create packages and send them over to the troops. However, all the efforts of women would soon be put to rest as the changes were only made for the duration of war and once able bodied men returned, everything would reverse. Of course, this only called for a greater fight and women were not willing to give up the little they did have. Canadian society recognizes the strong efforts put forward by women throughout the past centuries. It has been a long difficult journey for women across Canada. Just in 1900, teaching was the only job available to Canadian women that led to a pension and married women were forced to resign. In 1904 there had been a strike that wanted employers to fire all women. A few years passing and in 1909, the criminal code is finally amended to make illegal the kidnapping of women. As the war started, some women gained the right to vote and made up a percentage of the workforce. Women felt more encouraged to join the labour force as child care centers and tax incentives were provided. In 1947, Canadian women who marry non-canadian men would no longer lose their citizenship. The current changes that had been made were significant to the overall expansion of women’s rights. Before World War One women were only told to raise their families and stay at home. Men were superior to women and women did not have any political privelleges. During the war, Women were finally given the chance to choose from a variety of different careers that they had before never gotten the chance to pursue. After the war, the men had returned and women were mostly laid off. This sparked the suffragist movement and this time period was greatly significant to the start of women’s rights. Some women had been granted the right to vote but by 1960, every Canadian was allowed to vote, this included Aboriginal women and men. Due to the countless women who fought for gender equality, Acts were passed. The Female Employees Equal Pay Act is very significant as in 1956 it officially made wage discrimination based on gender against the law. Women in Canada have been very strong and determined all throughout the twentieth century. Women’s rights have expanded since 1914 and it has all been possible due to the many Canadian women who did not give up the fight and due to this Canada has matured and allowed women to gain the respect they deserved and that led to the expansion of women’s rights in Canada. It is no doubt that Canadian history had been shaped by women and Canada acknowledges the efforts that led to change. There is now protection for women from discrimination by the Canadian Human Rights Act and The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada also submits a report to the United Nations every four years and discusses how it has worked to further the rights of women.
September 11, 2019 0 Comments