My Great-Grandmother was not a Person


My Great-Grandmother was not a person. Neither was yours. Up until about 67
years ago no females were. We were supposed to be pregnant and barefoot in the
kitchen. At least that\'s the perception that the laws enforced. (For ex: The
Election Act of the Dominion of Canada and The Common Law of England) As part of
the British Commonwealth many of our laws were the same as England\'s and
enforced by British parliament. One such law from the Common Law of England
stated that "A woman is not a person in matters of rights and privileges, but
she is a person in matters of pains and penalties." This gave women second class
citizenship.
Women were not recognized as equals to men, even though the expectations of
women were such that the work load was equal if not greater. As pioneer women we
built homes, raised families, maintained the homestead, hunted food, fought
natives, made clothes, cooked, cleaned, as well as the many manual labour jobs
that men held. For example, women worked in coal mines, armories, and aided the
war effort via the manufacturing industry, such as factorys. If this is what is
determeined as equality then women were getting the short end of the stick and
men were receiving all of the benifit. This perception still holds strong today,
although not as strongly.
Men said that women were to fragile to vote. Yet no man has ever experienced
labor pains. Furthermore no man has fought any battle that was as hard as the
one the famous five women have fought. The Election Act of the Dominion of
Canada states that "No woman, idiot, lunatic, or criminal shall vote." So women
are equal to criminals? It\'s not a crime to be a woman. We should not be judged
by our sex. On April 19, 1916 women in Alberta were granted the right to vote. A
small battle was won. Five Canadian women have conquered countries and nations
for their rights. When questionning the wording of "qualified persons to the
senate" the Supreme Court of Canada rejected that the word "persons" included
women. This battle was lost but the war was won when the Privy Council of
England (the highest court in the land) ruled that the word "persons" included
women. That was the 18th of October, 1929.
The famous five women are: Irene Perlby, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir
Edwards, Louise McKinney, and Emily Murphy. These women have fought a battle of
sexism that is of historic importance. Millions of women in Canada have these
five women to thank for the past 67 years of equality\'
Today the battle of the sexes still rages on where equality is still an issue
in our daily lives.

"Despite all my rage / I\'m still just a rat in a cage"
B. Corgan
Smashing Pumpkins

The views of society are that women are the inferior sex even though the law
recognizes women as equals. Not until such time that women start becoming a
predominant force in government, the workplace and can educate this equality to
everybody; then will the battle of the sexes end. Today\'s woman can use her
energies to fight the destructive forces of the marketing machine. Men can help
too. Large corporations, fashions, Hollywood, Disney, Mattel and every sort of
advertising that exploits women have a destructive message for society, that
women are not perceived as equals. By educating out children and the following
generations that gender equality is an important value that society should
respect.
The Famous Five fought the legal war that recognizes women as equals. It\'s
time for us to fight society\'s gender war. We are here as humans, as people, as
equals, as persons.
I\'ll leave you with this closing thought...

"No woman can become or remain degraded without all women suffering."
E. Murphy

Category: Social Issues