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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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Votes for Indians and Women in the New Dominion: the Case of Peter E. Jones or Kahkewaquonaby (1843-1909)

by Allan Sherwin

Peter E. Jones or Kahkewaquonaby of Ontario’s Mississauga-Ojibwe advocated votes for Indians and for women. In 1866, he became one of the first Status Indians to obtain a medical degree and returned to his reserve in southern Ontario to be elected Secretary of the Grand General Indian Council. In this capacity he soon became a bridge between peoples, conveying the Grand Council’s concerns to government officials and ensuring that they received a reply. At a time when the franchise for male workers, Asians, women, and Indians was much debated (Strong-Boag), he supported the granting of voting rights to Indians and published the first Canadian Native newspaper, The Indian, to encourage them to vote.

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Christian Reformers: The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union

by Sharon Anne Cook

Founded in 1874 to counter the evils of alcohol, the Canadian Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (W.C.T.U.) rapidly grew into a multi-faceted organization that championed various forms of childhood and adult education, homes for abandoned and ‘fallen’, poor, and orphaned women and children, humane care of the indigent aged, residences and ‘Travelers’ Aid’ for single working women, women’s hospitals, coffee houses, and reading rooms, traveling lecturers and missionaries.

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Canadian Native Homemakers’ Clubs

by Kathryn Magee Labelle

The Canadian Native Women’s Homemakers’ Clubs serve as an example of how 20th century Native women used small-scale, locally-based associations to promote social justice and welfare, targeting not only their particular communities, but First Nations in general. The Clubs began officially in 1942, although similar groups, such as sewing circles and traditional women’s councils, had a long history within Native communities. By the 1950s the Clubs had become an integral part to many reserves across Canada.

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R.E.A.L. Women and the ‘Pro-Family’ Movement

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Opposition occurs along side demands for equality and justice. Patriarchy, like related prejudices such as racism and homophobia, always has defenders. Canadian ‘antis’ who had resisted women suffrage had successors in R.E.A.L. (Realistic, Equal and Active for Life) Women founded in 1983 as a supposedly ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-family’ lobby. Claims to those values were a clever tactical move.

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Ishbel Marie Marjoribanks Gordon

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Ishbel, commonly referred to after her marriage in 1877 to John Campbell Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, as the Countess of Aberdeen, was born the third of five children and the second daughter of an ambitious and wealthy family with connections to Scotland and India. As a teenager she was deeply influenced by the Protestant social gospel, as evident for example in the early settlement house movement, and determined to apply its message of hard work and individual responsibility to her own life. Barred from Girton College, Cambridge, by her family’s determination that she marry well, she nevertheless had tutors who ensured her fluency in French and German and she took up a lifetime of self-education.

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Seneca Falls Convention of 1848

by Genevieve LeBaron

Standing at the opening of the world’s first women’s rights convention, at the front of the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York, on July 19, 1848, the convention’s main organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton declared that the time had come for public action, to inaugurate, as she later recalled, “the greatest rebellion the world has ever seen.”  For the next two days, three hundred people met to discuss not only the social and civil condition and rights of women, but also their political rights, particularly the right to vote. When the meeting was over, one hundred people had signed Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments—patterned after the Declaration of Independence—which detailed the “injuries and usurpations” that men had inflicted onto women.

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