women take the right to vote
May 30, 1997
1960! That's when all Canadian women were allowed to vote!
Women won the vote in small and incremental steps, with our western provinces leading the way. The first federal election in Canada was held in August, 1867. Women didn't have the right to vote in it. Even if women met the same requirements around citizenship, property, age and race as men, women did not have the right to vote. Why? Because the laws of the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, amended earlier in the 19th century, specifically excluded women from voting. Just because we were female ... Yeah, right! It was five decades before relatively privileged, mainly white women, and almost a century (1960) before all women citizens over the age of 18, regardless of racial origin, had the right to vote and hold office in Canada at all levels of government. By the 1880s, women in Canada and other industrialized countries were passionately seeking fundamental and extensive social reform. Winning the right to vote and to hold office at the provincial and federal levels of government became a key goal. Disenfranchisement made women seem like second-class citizens, an increasingly unacceptable status to many women. This was unacceptable particularly to those in the growing middle class who had both religious and secular education, inherited or earned money and some leisure time to devote to an organization. Women had some success introducing social reforms - like changes in married women's property laws, temperance, changes to education and employment laws - but women were still denied the vote and the political power that went with it. Now, what do you think about that? Sonia Leathes, speaking in 1913 to the National Council of Women, put the challenge clearly: "It is on this account that women today say to the governments of the world: you have usurped what used to be our authority, what used to be our responsibility. It is you who...