October 18, 2010

Persons Day – Canada

Women are persons!

That was the big revelation in the court case decided on this day in 1929, and it enabled Canadian women to be treated equally, including being considered qualified for appointment to the Senate.

Canada has been considered a nation rather than a colony of Great Britain since the British North American Act of 1867, which served as the country's first Constitution. (From 1867 to 1975, there have been many BNA Acts, and in 1982 many acts were amended or repealed, and the rest were renamed Constitution Acts.)

For years women were not able to be appointed to the Senate because “qualified persons” in the Constitution were defined as men. Even Canada's Supreme Court unanimously stated that the 1867 law, which was passed when women could neither vote nor run for any office, couldn't possibly have been written with the possibility of women being considered a qualified person. It took an appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain to overturn the ruling and state that women were persons!

Emily Murphy, pictured here, spearheaded the movement to include women as qualified persons in Canada.

Want more?

There is a lot of information about women's rights movements (especially historical) in the U.S., but it isn't as easy to find out stuff about women's rights movements all over the world. Here's a website with some interesting looking articles. 

And here is a website with a timeline of women's rights in Canada. 

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