Emily Murphy

Citizen Handbook #4

Emily Gowan Ferguson was born on March 14, 1868, in Cookstown. When she was fifteen, Emily moved to Toronto and attended the Bishop Strachan School for Girls. In 1887, Emily married Reverend Arthur Murphy in Cookstown. She moved with her husband in 1904 to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she organized the literary section of the Winnipeg Tribune. In 1907, Emily Murphy moved once again to Alberta where she became extremely involved in civic affairs. She was mostly interested in a law that would improve the rights of women and children.

Throughout the 1900\'s, any man who had property and was married could sell his property and leave his wife and children, with all the money for himself. Emily Murphy was infuriated that Alberta would have such a law. So Emily made a stand and fought for the Dower Act, which would "recognise a married woman\'s entitlement to a share of the common property in a marriage". Finally, in 1911, the act was passed. The act was that it "provided that a wife must get a third of her husband\'s estate, even when he did not leave a will". It was Emily\'s first major triumph, and her first accomplishment. When women found out about Emily and her achievements, it not only gave confidence to women to fight for their rights, but it also let Emily expand her assurance and pushed her to fight for a new suffrage bill.

In 1914, Emily Murphy and Nellie McClung united together and after much anticipation and hard work, the suffrage bill was introduced to the legislature in 1916. The first session began on February 24, 1916, where Premier Sifton read the bill alongside the estimated forty thousand signatures. The next day he sent in a bill allowing "women a status of complete political equality with men in all provincial municipal, and school matters".

On June 19, 1916, Judge Emily Murphy became the first woman police magistrate in the British Empire. Yet Emily still wanted to do more. On August 227, 1927, she did the impossible. She sent a letter to Ottawa in a appeal by the Governor General to the Supreme Court for a ruling off a question. The question asked, "Does the word Person in Section 24 of the British North America Act 1867, include female persons?" At last, on October 18, 1929, Lord Sankey rules that women were "Persons and were therefore qualified to become members of the Senate in Canada". This news brought all women in Canada joy for the hard work and determination of the Famous Five, especially for Emily Murphy who had spent her whole life fighting for women\'s rights.

On October 30, 1933, Emily Murphy died of diabetes, but would be forever remembered, as a person who changed women\'s rights.

In my opinion, I think that Emily Murphy was very determined to accomplish her goal and that she has helped many women in later years finish theirs. I think she is an inspiration to all that strive for what they believe in. Thanks to her and the Famous Five, women could no longer be legally excluded from any public office in Canada.