October is Women’s History Month



Photo: Jeanne Mance, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Agnes Macphail and Kim Campbell


What do John A. MacDonald, Wilfrid Laurier, Pierre Trudeau and Tommy Douglas have in common?

Yes, it’s true they are all famous Canadian political leaders. But they were also men, and only men. In October we need to remember the important contributions Canadian women have made to our country over the past 400 years.

Did you know:

1645 Jeanne Mance opened one of Canada’s first hospitals in Montreal.

1853 Mary Ann Shadd Cary became the first black newspaper editor in not only Canada, but in North America.

1867 Dr. Emily Stowe was the first female to practice medicine in Canada.

1897 Clara Brett Martin was admitted to the bar as Canada’s first female lawyer.

1898 Kit Coleman was the first Canadian woman to hold a regular job at a newspaper.

1903 Emma Baker became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from a Canadian university.

1908 Lucy Maud Montgomery of Prince Edward Island published Anne of Green Gables.

1916 Manitoba women were the first in Canada to gain the right to vote in provincial elections.

1917 Louise McKinney and Roberta MacAdams Price of Alberta became the first two women in the British Empire to be elected to a provincial legislature.

1918 Canadian women were given the right to vote in federal election.

1921 Agnes Macphail, activist and founder of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Canada, became the first woman elected to the federal House of Commons.

1924 Cecile Eustace Smith was the first woman to represent Canada in the Olympic Games.

1941 45,000 women joined the Canadian army and navy for full-time military service other than nursing.

1971 The Canadian Labour Code was amended to forbid workplace discrimination based on gender and marital status, as well as reinforcing the principle of equal pay for equal work.

1981 Women’s rights, ensuring equality before and under the law, were enshrined in the new Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

1987 Combat roles in the Canadian Air Force, such as flying fighter aircraft, were opened to women for the first time.

1993 Kim Campbell became the first female Prime Minister of Canada.

Those are just a few things women have accomplished in Canada. Learn more at the Canadian Government’s Status of Women’s website.

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