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Valentine’s Day 1916, A Day of Triumph for The Women of Saskatchewan

by Georgina M. Taylor 

On Valentine’s Day in 1916 Saskatchewan suffragists converged on the Legislative Building in Regina. They had been invited to attend the Legislative Assembly by Walter Scott, the besieged Premier, who apparently hoped his invitation would be seen as chivalrous.

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‘Leading Compromise’: US Women Senators Confront the Political Impasse in October 2013

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Since the suffrage crusades, both scholars and popular observers have debated whether women would make a difference to ‘old boy’ agendas. Given many women’s subsequent identification with partisan politics, the discipline imposed by party whips and other pressures to toe the line, not to mention the multiple loyalties (of class, race, etc.) they share with other groups, and not always with one another, skepticism is understandable. There are nonetheless enough instances of political ‘sisterhoods’ that cross party lines to hearten the hopeful.

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Women and the Provincial Vote in Nineteenth-Century British North America

by Colin Grittner

When one picks up a Canadian history textbook, the year 1916 usually receives special emphasis.  And so it should.  In 1916, Manitoba became the first province in Canadian history to grant women the right to vote.

If one flips backward through the textbook, the year 1851 will not feature so prominently.  British North America, as it was called, still only consisted of four sparsely populated colonies.  The Province of Canada (present-day Ontario and Quebec), Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island had only recently received their legislative independence.  New Brunswick would still have to wait a few more years for responsible government.  To the west, the Hudson’s Bay Company still laid claim to much of the land despite its First Nations majority.

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We Need You ‘in the House’!

by Carolyn Bennett

In 1975, NWT leader, Nellie Cournoyea stated in the Status of Women report ‘Speaking Together’ that ‘Paternalism has been a total failure’.  Unfortunately it’s still true.

When I entered medical school women were 20% of the class, over 25 years later when I entered Parliament women were 20% of that House of Commons ‘class’, but medical school enrollment has changed dramatically – reaching 50-60% women.  Unfortunately Parliament is not a meritocracy; structural barriers remain.  In 1992, the Lortie Commission identified money and the nomination process as major barriers. Many of us believe that it will be impossible to achieve parity until the electoral system in Canada is changed to a more proportional system.

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Glamour, Soft Power and International Image: China’s New First Lady, Peng Liyuan

by Huai Bao

When Peng Liyuan stepped out of the Air China airplane in Moscow beside her husband, Xi Jinping, the new President of China, in March 2013, she became the most talked about woman among Chinese netizens in Mainland China and overseas. Her hairstyle, light make-up, earrings, scarf, overcoat, and handbag all raised a media whirlwind in China.

Peng, one of her country’s most famous soprano singers, has apparently distinguished herself from previous First Ladies of the PRC. But in one unwritten rule she has been following her predecessors—while shining brighter next to her husband in the public eye, she has retreated from her musical career since he became a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.

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“Gender Trouble” in Model Plays: A Different Kind of Feminism?

by Huai Bao

Western feminist scholars commonly assume that “there must be a universal basis for feminism, one which must be found in an identity assumed to exist cross-culturally…” and that “the oppression of women has some singular form discernible in the universal or hegemonic structure of patriarchy or masculine domination” (Butler, 3). Such assumptions of universality fly in the face of feminist scholarship’s simultaneous injunction to listen to the subaltern and to honour experience. This leads us to ask, for example, does socialist feminism in the People’s Republic of China share the common grounds? Is there really a universal patriarchy? Do all feminist movements go through a common process and achieve a universally desired status?  Is there a universal feminism?

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Singapore Feminism: Fertility and Transnational Immigration

by Syahidah Ismail

Post-World War II Singapore witnessed crucial nation-building decisions. Women were given the right to vote and right to stand for election on July 18th, 1947, two years after the end of the Japanese occupation. In subsequent decades, public policy targeted fertility and immigration, issues that directly affected women. Although today its international image as an Asian tiger has afforded this tiny island-nation notoriety as one of the richest countries in the world (“The World’s Richest Countries”, 2012), progress remains gendered, raced, and classed.

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Philippines Suffragist Movement

by Leonora C. Angeles

Feminism and nationalism have often been closely allied in the Philippines as elsewhere. The first official recognition of women’s suffrage rights came from the nationalist Katipunan movement, most notably Apolinario Mabini, who noted it in the draft of the 1989 Malolos Constitution but his proposal did not interest the all-male Aguinaldo government and Malolos Congress,which adopted a more conservative draft.

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