The Famous Five Essay Example

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The Persons Case: A Milestone for Women’s Rights in Canada

On October 18th, 1929, Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Edwards, and Irene Parlby, known as the Famous Five, celebrated the ruling of the Privy Council in Britain declaring women as legal persons. Prior to this decision, Emily Murphy fought for the rights of all women for twelve years, never allowing her losses to bring her down. Emily became the first woman police magistrate in the entire British Empire and had her position challenged numerous times on the grounds that a woman is not a “person under the British North America Act of 1867. Murphy fumed at the injustice and she knew the law had to be changed and she was going to be the one to do it (Historica). Murphy first brought the case to the Supreme Court of Canada in March of 1928 and the courts ruled against it. Following this rejection, Murphy carried the case to the Privy Council in Britain where women were declared legal people. This legal milestone came to be known as the Persons Case. Giving women legal recognition as people and illuminating the female potential made the Persons Case one of the most important steps in the battle for women’s rights in Canada. Since the uprising of the Famous Five, there have been countless achievements changing the female role in the workplace, the home, and the law. Women are no longer seen as property, but as successors. Without the Famous Five, women’s rights would not have come this far. Four months after the Privy Council legally defined women as “persons”, the first female Senate was appointed. Many people thought that it would be Emily Murphy who would take this role, but because she was a Conservative, Mackenzie King appointed Cairine Wilson as the first female Canadian Senate, because she worked as a Liberal party organizer (Munroe). This created many doors for women in politics. Agnes Macphail was the first female president of a major political party from 1932-34 and was

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