To assist readers in approaching questions of suffrage and the democratic deficit, posts are generally organized by broad classification—namely ‘historical,’ ‘contemporary,’ ‘biographical,’ ‘organizations and causes,’ ‘elections,’ ‘ideas,’ ‘at the ballot box,’ ‘in the classroom,’ and ‘front lines.’  Within each category, posts will address our site’s continuing concern with activism, the democratic deficit, and race, class and sexuality, but we are open as well to other perspectives. A post may well fall into several categories and readers are urged to use the search function (for example specifying particular nations) or the authors’ index to focus their investigation.

 

Revisiting the Rise of Women in Canadian Politics

by Grace Lore

Between November 2008 when Eva Aariak, the only woman elected to Nunavut’s 19-member legislature was sworn in as premier and January 2013 when Kathleen Wynne became premier of Ontario after taking over as Liberal leader, six women in five provinces and one territory rose to the top.  Four – BC’s Christy Clark, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Kathy Dunderdale, Alberta’s Alison Redford, and Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne, like the Canadian women leaders before them (Rita Johnston in BC and Kim Campbell federally), became premier /prime minister by winning the leadership of their party and not by seeking an electoral mandate.

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Not just about the money: corporatization is weakening activism and empowering big business

by Genevieve LeBaron and Peter Dauvergne

At the beginning of the 1970s Greenpeace was a motley band of peaceniks and environmentalists living in our home province of British Columbia in Canada. Now the Amsterdam headquarters of Greenpeace manages a multimillion-dollar brand, with scores of branches worldwide, thousands of employees, and millions of financial supporters.

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International Women’s Day (IWD) and Human Rights 2014

by Veronica Strong-Boag

International Women’s Day on 8th March should be a key date in the human rights calendar. Its place is hard-won. When Charlotte Bunch, a leading figure in the creation of UN Women (2010), insisted in 1990 that women’s rights are human rights in the Human Rights Quarterly and Edward Broadbent, from the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, served in 1993 as a judge in the Vienna Tribunal on Women’s Human Rights, one half of humanity’s entitlement to fair dealing remained globally contested. That struggle continues.

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From British Liberties to Human Rights: The Canadian Case

by Ross Lambertson

In 1951 the United Nations adopted the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which can be seen as a logical corollary to the emphasis on human rights in the 1945 UN  Charter, as well as to its 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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A discussion with Waterloo Mayor Brenda Halloran

by Grace Lore

Women remain under-represented in politics the world over and Canada is no exception. While municipal politics was once thought to provide a better opportunity for women to enter into and participate in politics, it is far from certain.  According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, less than 25% of all city counselors are women and women comprise a mere 16% of all mayors.

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Is there a rape culture in politics?

by Grace Lore

‘Rape culture’ is the social practices, public and private discourses, and beliefs that enable us as individuals and a community to ignore sexualized violence against women and fail to attribute appropriate blame and punishment to perpetrators.   Rape culture at its most innocuous passively enables sexualized violence and at its worst reproduces, condones, or encourages it.

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From One Feminist Wave to the Next: Laura Emma Marshall Jamieson (1882-1964)

by Veronica Strong-Boag

The Suffrage and the Second Wave Women’s Movements have often been regarded as distinct. In fact, feminism never disappeared. Laura Marshall Jamieson, who joined BC’s Political Equality League before World War One and the Women’s Committee of the New Democratic Party a half a century later, exemplifies its persistence.

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A Class Act: Grace Hartman (1918-1993)

by Veronica Strong-Boag

In 2001, sociologist Meg Luxton reminded us that Canadian feminism has always been a “Class Act”. In doing so, she highlighted a core aspect of intersectional theory that is only too readily forgotten in North America, albeit perhaps less so in monarchial Canada than in republican USA. In fact, class (or rank) is a central feature of most societies, a key determinant of opportunity and well-being, and a factor that sometimes overshadows race, sexuality, and gender.

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Not Just “Rearranging the Furniture”[1]: Patricia Monture-Angus/Aye-wah-han-day (1958-2010) and the Search for Justice

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Pre-contact North America had many patterns of gender relations.  Some communities were matrilineal and many offered women sources of strength and power. The arrival of Europeans compromised and sometimes destroyed Indigenous traditions.  Through conquest, genocide, religion, and re-education, imperialists set out to impose patriarchal models of social and political organization.

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From London Suffragette to Vancouver Suffragist: Helena Rose Gutteridge (1879-1960)

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Much like today’s women’s movements, the suffrage cause drew great strength from a world-wide constituency. Pioneers such as Britain’s Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), the USA’s Harriot Stanton Blatch (1856-1940), and Canada’s Nellie L. McClung (1872-1951) toured well beyond their own nations and their words encouraged global sympathies. Women of all stations in life carried political loyalties with them as visitors and emigrants to other lands. Helena Rose Gutteridge was just such a dedicated transplant from London to the far flung shores of the British Empire in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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For Racial and Women’s Equality: the Politics of Mary Ann Shadd Cary (1823-1893)

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Black abolitionist, publisher, teacher, and suffragist, embodied feminism’s early potential for challenging ignorance and creating partnerships among justice seekers. Her columns in the Ontario newspaper, the Provincial Freeman, and contributions to the Colored Women’s Progressive Franchise Association in the U.S. carved out space for diverse voices in the construction of a broader democracy. Contemporaries were urged to embrace multiple campaigns, to fight slavery, segregation, and the oppression of women, and to widen the franchise.

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Reflections on the Women’s Campaign School

by Saran Allan

When I was 15 years old, I got into my first major debate about politics. One of my classmates said that voting was pointless, while I argued vehemently that everyone should vote in order to have their say; that it was our responsibility as part of a democratic society to participate in the process of choosing our leaders. My very patient teacher suggested I put my thoughts down on paper, I’m sure as much to calm me down as to teach me something. What started as a rant about why everyone must vote turned into a thoughtful (for a 15 year old) essay on the reasons youth might not care about politics. My points were many and I felt them all deeply: the voting age was too high, the process was confusing, politicians were hard to identify with, the needs of youth were not being considered, and what difference could one person make anyway?

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Notes on The Women’s Forum, Yangon, Myanmar, December 6 -7, 2013

by Kathy Mezei

The Women’s Forum was held in Yangon, Myanmar, December 6 and 7, 2013, an event unimaginable a couple of years ago. Drawing 400 participants from 27 countries, the Forum was located at the midtown Chatrium, a now bustling 5 star hotel facing the scenic Kandawgi Lake, where 4 or 5 years ago, you could count the number of foreigners and tourists on one hand, with the occasional German or French tour group. This was a strikingly glamorous and incongruous event, sponsored by the French Embassy (which has been active in Myanmar for a number of years),* organized, for some odd reason, by a Yangon Modeling Agency (which explains the lineup of beautifully made up and costumed Burmese women who seemed flummoxed by our queries at the registration desk), and “partnered” by corporations such as PepsiCo, Total, ACCOR, BNP Paribas, L’Oréal.

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Canadian 2013 By-elections: Porous politics, vote-splitting, and women’s presence in politics

by Grace Lore

On 25 November2013, voters in four Canadian ridings went to the polls to elect a new Member of Parliament in mid-term by-elections.  The seats were left empty when four MP’s resigned: namely Manitoba Conservatives Vic Toews and Merv Tweed to join the private sector, Quebec Liberal and former interim leader, Denis Coderre, to become mayor of Montreal, and former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae to serve as negotiator for the Matawa First Nations in Northern Ontario. While two races (Toronto-Centre and Brandon-Souris) were highly contested, after the vote count there was no change to the status quo; the Liberals retained seats in Toronto and Montreal and the Conservatives theirs in Manitoba.

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Finding Balance: Enabling women to protect themselves or the perpetuation of rape myths and sexualized violence

by Grace Lore

With four reported stranger attacks at the University of British Columbia from Spring to Fall 2013, sexual assault has been in the spot light. The University and RCMP responded with a series of public messages, signage warnings, and safety campaigns, yet the bulk of these responses reproduced gender bias.  Specifically, solutions overwhelmingly targeted women’s behavior and attitudes, rather than those of the perpetrators.  The result supplies yet one more example of the “victim blaming” that so often pervades public culture.

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News Media Coverage of Elections Contributes to Women’s Political Under-Representation

by Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant

Why do women make up 50% of Canada’s population, but hold only 25% of seats in the House of Commons? Explaining this disjuncture is no small task. Political parties could be doing more to identify, nominate, and support electorally-viable female candidates. Deeply-ingrained gender norms hinder women’s perceptions of their own qualifications for office, decreasing the number of women who ever consider running. The list of reasons why women do not have equal voice in Parliament is long.

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Suffrage Voiceless Speeches

by Alison Strobel

Oratory was a common mode of expression deployed in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century US woman suffrage campaign, but during these years, women who spoke in public were thought to violate gender norms. By contrast, women who presented voiceless speeches, i.e. silently held or displayed placards that contained messages promoting their political agenda, were able to maintain social decorum while publically challenging gender norms. “A silent suffragist,” Jean Baker (2002) explains, would simply “stand in a shop window with a series of simple suffrage messages … displayed one-by-one to crowds who stopped to watch” (p. 167).

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Understanding The 2013 Global Gender Gap Report

by Grace Lore

Annually, since 2006, the World Economic Forum [WEF] has released a report that seeks to quantify persistent gender inequality the world over.  The Report, the WEF says, is aimed at generating awareness about existing gender inequality and facilitating policies to reduce gaps between men and women.

The Report measures gender equality gaps in four key areas – education, health, economics, and politics. Education considers ratios of boys and girls and men and women in primary, secondary, and tertiary education as well as relative literacy rates.  Health gaps compare the sex ratio at birth and life expectancy.

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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 Immigrants and Social Justice: the Perspective of Lily in the Snow by Yan Li

by Huai Bao

In her novel, Lily in the Snow, Chinese Canadian author Madame Yan Li portrays a mélange of women immigrants from ethnic minorities in Canada, observed by the narrator of the story, Lily. While these immigrant and visible minority women, who struggle near the bottom of the ethnic hierarchy, voice concerns about the hardship in the new land and express depression about exclusion from mainstream society, none is depicted as politically engaged. Such lack of engagement seems to coincide with the concerns of political scientists that such newcomers have neglected “an important element in their overall integration into society” (O’Neill, Gidengil and Young, 2012, 185).

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Woman suffrage, eugenics, and eugenic feminism in Canada

by Cecily Devereux

The relationship of suffragism to the eugenics movement is certainly one of the most complicated and contentious aspects of the achievement of the vote for women in Canada. Many of the principles and people associated with suffragism are also associated with the ideas of the science of “race improvement” that had been named “eugenics” by Francis Galton in 1883. Galton (1822-1911), a half-cousin of Charles Darwin and a British scholar and explorer across a range of areas of study, was also a “proto-geneticist” whose writing on making “better” humans through controlled breeding provided the ground for a movement not only in Britain and the British Empire but, through the first quarter of the twentieth century, in many countries around the world. It is thus possible to make reference to a “eugenics movement” that is both nationally specific in its development and global in its spread.

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Armine Nutting Gosling (1861-1942) and “The Counsel of Responsible Women”: The Suffragists of Newfoundland and Labrador

by Tiffany Johnstone

While most women in Canada won the right to vote at the federal level in 1918 and to run as candidates in federal elections in 1920, the struggle for suffrage was more complicated in the province of Quebec and in what was then the dominion of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).  Quebec women had to wait 15 years before winning the right to vote provincially in 1940.  Newfoundland and Labrador, which did not join Canada until 1949, granted women the right to vote and run for office in 1925.  Religious conservatism, entrenched class-based social inequalities, and a strong cultural emphasis on traditional gender roles seem to have posed particular obstacles to suffrage in Quebec and NL.  The story in NL is remarkable considering the number of challenges and the public opposition suffragists faced at the time.

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Stephen Harper’s June 2013 Cabinet and the Myth of Progress

by Grace Lore

When Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a much-anticipated cabinet shuffle in July 2013, many observers pointed to the increase in women on the front bench.  In the lead-up to the announcement, government representatives hinted widely that female representation would be a central story and Harper himself tweeted out during the announcement that he was “proud to be naming four new strong, capable women to the ministry” (CBC news story).   In fact, with two prominent Conservative figures no longer in cabinet—Calgary MP Diane Ablonczy who announced she would not running again and Senate leader Marjory LeBreton whose departure signaled the bad odour of Canada’s senior house—women’s number only increased by two to constitute a third of ministers.

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“If a man preferred to work”: Prince Edward Island’s Statute Labour Franchise in the Era of Responsible Government

by Colin Grittner

Like every other British North American colony, Prince Edward Island had employed the 40 shilling freehold franchise during the early-nineteenth century.  So long as a person owned 40 shillings worth of real estate on the Island, that person had the privilege of voting in colonial elections.  After PEI formally disenfranchised women in 1836, these property-owning voters also had to be male (Garner, 155).  This codification of patriarchy meant that the Island’s several “lady landlords” found themselves without a formal political voice despite the land they owned (Bittermann and McCallum, 7-8).

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The Daughter of the Red Land—Madame Yan Li

by Huai Bao

A veteran of twenty-five years in Canada, a professor, novelist, literary prize winner, recipient of many awards and grants, and a finalist for Books in Canada’s First Novel Award, Madame Yan Li (1955-) is certainly not an ordinary woman. She has been called the “Jane Eyre of China” by readers and fans due to her inspirational life experiences—a “dreams-come-true” process of struggling for self-actualization (Zhao, 2012). Her novels also offer points of entry for understanding the relationship between female immigrants and Canadian feminism and between immigrants and the promise of Canadian democracy.

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S. 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and The Pursuit of Gender Equality in Canada

by Grace Lore

In 1982, the Canadian Constitution was repatriated and supplemented with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Despite the inclusion of Section 15, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex while allowing affirmative action, and Section 25 that ensures that all rights inherent in the Charter are guaranteed equally to men and women, Second Wave feminism, which had been critical to improving the Charter, remained concerned about legal equality. While many Canadian feminists were ‘charter pragmatists’ (Majury, 2002), they remained aware that the symmetrical, universal, abstract, and individual nature of rights could render power, domination, and disadvantage depoliticized at best and justified at worst, in other words that ‘the ideology of formal equality masks and neutralizes inequality’ (Majury, 2002, 301).

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Women’s Groups and The Repatriation of the Canadian Constitution

by Grace Lore

In the run up to the repatriation of the Canadian constitution, feminist organizations were influential in the mega-constitutional politics that led to the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the most significant constitutional change since 1867.   As Murphy (2004) argues, constitutional rights differ critically from non-constitutional rights – as “supreme law”, they stand above regular law and are generally beyond the reach of elected representatives.  Constitutional debates offer key opportunities to define the political community and for that community to ‘consent’ to being governed and bound by the laws and institutions.  Women’s ability to “achieve space” at such critical moments may well have far-reaching implications (Murphy, 23).

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“It Happened on My Campus”/”Bitches and Drinks”

by Lucia Lorenzi

Just two days ago, I published an article  (which was also republished on Rabble.ca) detailing my concerns about having heard misogynist lyrics being played loudly on campus during frosh week at UBC. The song, which was played at a booth run by an off-campus nightclub, right near the Student Union Building, described—repetitively—being here “for the bitches and the drinks.” I expressed my frustration at having to be exposed to such misogyny in this environment, especially when we know that sexual assaults (especially those facilitated by drugs and alcohol) and sexual harassment run rampant on so many post-secondary campuses.

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Pink Pachyderms: the US’s anti-choice women and the politics of fear (and privilege)

by Veronica Strong-Boag and Kelsey Wrightson

While the conservative war against choice is far from new, tactics have evolved. In 2008 Sarah Palin, the vice-presidential candidate for the Republican Party, used the phrase “pink elephants” to describe the newest face of the global war against women, namely female Republicans working within legislative institutions to limit reproductive freedoms. In the United States, conservative campaigners and lawmakers have successfully repealed fertility rights won by champions of women.

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East Van Writes Back: Vancouver’s People’s Co-op Bookstore

by Tiffany Johnstone

Established in 1945, the People’s Co-op Bookstore (PCB) is a Vancouver landmark that epitomizes the ongoing value of independent bookstores in promoting grassroots activism, cultural literacy, and community.  The small, independent PCB, which is owned and run by members of a co-op, is the oldest bookstore in the city and has outlived many others that have yielded to industry pressures (Kronbauer) such as box-stores, online stores, and e-books (Shore).  The co-op, which sells a combination of used and new books, specializes in local authors and activism.  It is committed to functioning as a community-based source of information by and for the people that counters the conservative political and corporate biases of the mainstream media.

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Damp Tent Memoir: One Camper’s Analysis of Occupy Vancouver

by Andrea MacDonald

Nowhere are we more immersed in consumer culture than urban centers like Downtown Vancouver. Everywhere you look: emaciated inhuman models on bill boards and bus stops; business people in suits gripping smart phones; hurried shoppers clutching bags in both hands; baristas holding aching wrists with burnt fingers; people running for hurried transit, late for wherever they need to be. And all the while, hidden in alley ways and waiting for coins at store entrances, running a secret economy, the city’s homeless and street population – simultaneously ignored and hyper visible. It is in this context that 5,000 people gathered on October 15th to Occupy Vancouver (OV).

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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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Jane Austen

by June Sturrock

Jane Austen (1775-1817) was the seventh of the eight children of George Austen, rector of Steventon in Hampshire, and his wife, Cassandra Leigh.  This large and lively family provided Austen with her first audience, for, like the Brontë sisters, from childhood onwards she was dedicated to literature and, more specifically, the art of fiction.  Her juvenilia, complete with the occasional drunken heroine or light-fingered hero, took on both social and literary conventions and reduced them to nonsense.

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Recognition and Respect

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Canada, like most of the world, has a generally dismal record in public commemoration.  Whatever the makeup of the individual country, women and indeed human diversity largely disappear.  Just check out the public spaces and buildings, the designated historic sites and monuments, the stamps, the entries in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography/Dictionnaire biographique du Canada, and, of course, national currencies everywhere. Absence is far from unimportant.  As McGill philosopher Charles Taylor has reminded us, recognition reflects respect and inclusion in the national imaginary.

In channeling the spirit of contemporary scholarship and popular interest, the website, womensuffrage.org, reminds us we can do much better.

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Youth and Hope

by Veronica Strong-Boag

It’s almost a truism to suggest that today’s youth disappoint.  Indeed elders in every age are notorious for complaints. In fact, youngsters have commonly at least equal reason to protest the world handed down to them. But that is another story. The argument here considers contemporary concern about youth apathy as a key component of the democratic deficit and then turns to evidence of a generation who give their elders plenty of reason for hope.

‘Habitual non-voting’, what Canadian political scientist Paul Howe describes in Citizens Adrift, has been strongly correlated with youth. Since the 2000 federal election when turnout slipped to about 60% (the decline had been especially noticeable since 1988), Canadians have been urged to confront special disaffection among those in their twenties and younger.

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From the Margins to the Centre: Women in the New Brunswick Federation of Labour

by David Frank

What did unions ever do for women? I remember this question from a class several years ago. It was asked by a young woman who was a first-rate student and also had a good deal of experience in the workplace. When I mentioned that half the union members in our province these days are women, she was surprised.

Of course, that was not always the case. Far from it, and in writing a history of the provincial federation of labour in New Brunswick, I tried to keep the student’s question in mind. Would my student see unions paying attention to the needs of women? Would she see women joining unions?

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Improving Cities: Annie Gale and Calgary, Canada

by Veronica Strong-Boag

In 2012, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities embraced the goal of increasing women on municipal councils from 21.4% to 30% by 2026. The United Nations had defined the latter figure “as the minimal percentage of women required for government to reflect women’s Concerns”(1). With only 12.9% of mayors and 22.9% of councilors, Canadian women had far to go.

Such shortfall might suggest that municipal government has had little interest for women.  Not so.  Around the world, 19thcentury feminists inaugurated continuing concern with the way that cities work, or often did not, for women and children and residents in general.  Disasters and shortfalls in health, education, and general well-being were carefully documented and reforms proposed.

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Virginia Woolf, Women and Work

by Kathy Mezei

Born in 1882 into Victorian England, into the large upper middle-class and blended  family of Julia Duckworth and Leslie Stephen, and raised in a dark claustrophobic house in London’s Hyde Park, Virginia Woolf has become a symbol of feminism, high modernism, and experimental fiction.  But she was also a prolific essayist, writing for the “common reader”; a biographer (Flush, the biography of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s dog; Roger Fry, the biography of an influential Bloomsbury painter and art historian); a reviewer and journalist (Times Literary Supplement and Good Housekeeping); a polemicist (A Room of One’s Own, 1928;Three Guineas, 1938); an autobiographer (Moments of Being, 1976), and a committed diarist.

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Ministry v Council: Alternative “Solutions” to Gender Inequality

by Kelsey Wrightson

In the ramp up to the 14 May 2013 BC election, both the NDP and the BC Liberal Party offered policy proposals addressing gender inequality in the province. When the Liberals, headed by Christy Clark, achieved a poll-defying majority government,  the “business as usual” result disappointed many critics of the Party’s longstanding policies of indifference and exacerbation of gender inequality. In 2012, West Coast LEAF’s CEDAW (Convention on Ending Discrimination Against Women) Report Card had issued several failing grades to the BC Liberal Party, and Teghtsoonian and Chapell argue that since 2001 the “Liberal government has pursued a wider set of policy changes which are antithetical to the well-being of diverse groups of women” (38).

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Women Justices and the Supreme Court of Canada

by Grace Lore

Canada’s democratic system is comprised of three branches of government – the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary.  As Greene (2006) argues in his Courts, the relationship between the Courts and democracy is somewhat paradoxical: judges are unelected and often intervene in the policy making of democratically elected politicians, yet democracy requires an independent judiciary where judges can offer independent and impartial application and interpretation of the laws.   In the context of this paradox, however, one thing is clear – as in the legislatures and executives across the country, women have been and continue to be under-represented on the Supreme Court of Canada and recent trends in federal court appointments in general challenge judicial commitments to equality.

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New Women Writer-Protagonists: Comparing Louisa May Alcott’s Jo and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne

by Tiffany Johnstone

It is no coincidence that Canadian Lucy Maud Montgomery’s (1874–1942) Anne of Green Gables (1908) resembles American Louisa May Alcott’s (1832-1888) earlier two-part text Little Women (1868-1869), published as one book in 1880.  Both coming-of-age narratives engage in debates about gender prevalent in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Both feature independent female protagonists who must negotiate traditional gender roles and increased opportunities for their sex.  While Little Women and its two sequels (published in 1871 and 1886) follow all of the female members of the March family, they focus on Josephine (“Jo”) March who struggles the most to free herself from gender expectations.

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Rights of Woman: Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

by Tiffany Johnstone

“[Wollstonecraft] is alive and active, she argues and experiments, we hear her voice and trace her influence even now among the living.”

-Virginia Woolf, Qtd. in Ryall and Sandbach-Dahlstöm, 1.

Mary Wollstonecraft was a groundbreaking social critic, philosopher, novelist, travel writer, and advocate of women’s rights in Britain at the end of the 18th century. As an highly influential social thinker and figure in the literary movement of romanticism, she was a vocal participant in Enlightenment debates relating to women’s rights, education reform, and the French Revolution. Her insistence on the equality of women and men was perhaps the most controversial and persistent topic of her writing. While her work met with acclaim during her day, Wollstonecraft’s often unconventional lifestyle overshadowed her intellectual legacy until the 19th century when she became an important icon for suffragists.

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Sister Suffragists: Lillian Beynon Thomas (1874-1961) and Francis Marion Beynon (1884-1951)

by Tiffany Johnstone

“[T]he women of Manitoba are now citizens, persons, human beings, who have stepped politically out of the class of criminals, children, idiots and lunatics.”

-Lillian Beynon Thomas Qtd. in Gutkin and Gutkin.

Sisters Lillian Beynon Thomas and Francis Marion Beynon were teachers, writers, and outspoken activists involved in the historic women’s movement in Manitoba. They were raised along with one other sister and four brothers, by James Barnes Beynon and Rebecca Manning Beynon, devout Ontario Methodists. In 1889, the farm family joined the Ontario land rush to Manitoba and settled in Hartney. Both parents were active in Methodist organizations and Rebecca was particularly involved in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (http://womensuffrage.org /?p=21211).

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New Women and Working Girls: The Fiction of Jessie Georgina (J.G.) Sime (1868-1958)

by Tiffany Johnstone

“Hard work. Long hours. Discomfort. Strain. That was about the sum of it, of all that she had gained . . . but then, the sense of freedom! The joy of being done with cap and apron. The feeling that you could draw your breath—speak as you liked—wear overalls like men—curse if you wanted to.”

-J.G. Sime, “Munitions,” 332.

In 1919, one year after most Canadian women were federally enfranchised, feminist writer Jessie Georgina Sime (1868-1958) published a collection of 28 short stories entitled Sister Woman that captured the paradoxical challenges and sometimes bleak realities underlying female emancipation.

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A New Woman of the Canadian West: E. Cora Hind (1861-1942)

by Tiffany Johnstone

“Those of us of the old new West [. . .] when we set out alone on ‘the longest trail of all’ will ‘go west’ with great content if the soft southwest wind brings to us the tang of wild sage and the prairie roses, of the beat of a thousand hooves as the herds go down to water, or the sibilant sigh of the wind through miles of ripening wheat.”

-E. Cora Hind’s self-written epitaph, qtd. in Dafoe.

When Winnipeg grain journalist E. Cora Hind died in 1942 at the age of 81, she was heralded internationally for her long career in journalism and her extensive knowledge of Western Canadian agriculture.

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Imagine That: Kathy Dunderdale, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

by Tiffany Johnstone

In 2011 Kathleen (“Kathy”) Dunderdale (née Warren 1952-) became the 10th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and the first woman to hold this position in the province. She was the sixth woman to serve as a provincial premier in Canada. Dunderdale replaced premier Danny Williams when he retired in December 2010. In April 2011, she became the leader of the Newfoundland Progressive Conservative Party, and in the provincial elections in October she won a majority government.

When Kathy Dunderdale first took office in December, 2010, all three major political parties in Newfoundland were led by women (including Liberal Yvonne Jones and NDP Lorraine Michael).

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Connecting Links: Race and Gender in the work of Edith Maude Eaton (Sui Sin Far)

by Tiffany Johnstone

“I give my right hand to the Occidentals and my left to the Orientals, hoping that between them they will not utterly destroy the insignificant connecting link.”

-Edith Maude Eaton, “Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian,” 230.

The history of women’s suffrage in North America is best understood within the context of historical debates about borders, nationality, race, and citizenship. Edith Eaton (1865-1914), also known by her frequent penname, Sui Sin Far, a journalist and fiction writer who wrote and lived in Canada and the United States at the turn of the 20th century, is a prime example of a writer who crossed geographical and political borders to explore the gender- and race-discrimination surrounding political definitions of citizenship.

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Social Departures: Sara Jeannette Duncan (1861-1922)

by Tiffany Johnstone

Sara Jeannette Duncan, of Scottish Presbyterian ancestry, is one of Canada’s most iconic turn of the 20th century literary figures. Her journalism and novels stand as literary companions to suffrage debates. Raised in Brantford Ontario and trained as a teacher, Duncan went on to write for Canadian and American publications such as the Globe (Toronto) and the Washington Post (D.C.). In 1887, she became the parliamentary correspondent for the Montreal Star. She wrote a column in the Globe addressed to female readers and shared progressive politics on issues relating to nationalism and suffrage. Duncan married a British civil servant working in India where she then lived and worked as a novelist and journalist for her adult life in the “Anglo-Indian community of Calcutta and Simla” (Dean 19). In her lifetime she published over 20 novels and she remains one of the most prolific and influential figures of Canadian literature.

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Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson: Frontier Adventure Literature and the Dawn of Suffrage

by Tiffany Johnstone

At the turn of the 20th century the North American nature writing movement produced many famous male writers such as Jack London and Hamlin Garland. Wilderness adventure writing of the time is notable for its masculinist and imperialist themes relating to manifest destiny. One of these writers, Canadian Ernest Thompson Seton (who initially went by the name Ernest Seton Thompson), is best known for his influential roles in pioneering the animal story genre and co-founding the boy-scout movement. While writers such as Thompson Seton were social activists arguing for environmental conservation and Aboriginal rights, they also played into more mainstream interpretations of outdoors adventure as a metaphor for increased militarization, continental expansion, and off-shore imperialism (Atwood). Women and the topic of women’s rights often get left out of the discussion surrounding turn of the 20th century nature literature.

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Wendy Davis: Standing Tall Against the Anti-Choice Movement in Texas

by Kelsey Wrightson

Wendy Davis is an American lawyer and Democratic senator from Fort Worth, Texas. One of four children raised by a single mother, by 14, she was selling newspaper subscriptions and working part-time. She had the first of two daughters when she was 19 years old, subsequently working her way through Harvard Law School as a single mother.

Davis entered politics through the Fort Worth City Council in 1999, and served for nine years. In 2008 she was elected to the Texas Senate, District 10, narrowly defeating male Republican Kim Brimer. Upon entering a House dominated by Republicans and men, she began ruffling the feathers of conservative colleagues, labeling the Senate environment hostile to women and proposing multiple amendments to many bills. Davis serves as the Vice-Chair on the Senate Select Committee for Open Government, and is a member of the Committees on Economic Development, Transportation, Veteran Affairs and Military Installations.

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Sandra Lovelace Nicholas

by Kelsey Wrightson

The life and career of Sandra Lovelace Nicholas exemplifies how a single individual can transform democratic governance. Lovelace Nicholas worked within government institutions to tackle injustice and discrimination, especially against Indigenous women and children. In the 1970s and 1980s, she challenged the gendered discrimination of the Canadian Indian Act. Subsequently, she continued her battle for justice and equality as the second Aboriginal woman appointed to the Canadian Senate.

Lovelace Nicholas has had many different careers. She studied at Fredericton’s St. Thomas University for three years and later trained in residential construction. Prior to her Senate appointment she worked as a treaty researcher, adult care program director, training coordinator and carpenter. However, she is best known for her political activism for which she received membership to the Order of Canada (1990) and a Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case (1992).

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Where are the women? Gender Equality in the 2013 BC Provincial Party Platforms

by Kelsey Wrightson

On 14 April 2013, eligible voters will gather at the polls to determine the political leadership of British Columbia. Four major parties are vying to determine the policy future for Canada’s western-most province. In contention for the top spot are Liberal Party leader Christy Clark and NDP leader Adrian Dix. Vying to achieve first-time representation in the legislature are the BC Conservatives led by John Cummins, and the BC Green Party led by Jane Sterk. Despite equal representation of women in party leadership, across the four major parties only 27.7% of candidates are women.

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Challenging the Anointed Prince: Claim Making and Policy Building in the 2013 Canadian Liberal Leadership Race

by Kelsey Wrightson

The Liberal Party faced an unprecedented challenge after the 2 May 2011 election, its worst electoral result since 1867. The oldest party in Canada, led by historian Michael Ignatieff, a new leader who was thought to have ‘royal jelly’, captured only 19% of the popular vote, and 34 seats across Canada. This dismal showing was the first time in Canadian history that the Liberal Party could form neither the government nor the official opposition. Ignatieff was defeated in his Etobicoke riding and shortly resigned, leaving Bob Rae, a Liberal M.P. but previously a  contender for the Liberal leadership and a N.D.P. premier of Ontario, to serve as interim leader. For the next two years, the Grits struggled to regroup and reformulate.

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Daurene Lewis

by Kelsey Wrightson

Daurene Lewis scored important “firsts,” including the title of Canada’s first female Black mayor. Her favourite quotation was from Rosemary Brown, Canada’s first Black female member of a provincial legislature:  “Remember you are twice blessed … you’re Black and you’re a woman.” (McRae). Her lifetime resonated with protest against injustice.

Born in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia in 1943, her family proudly claimed descent from Black Loyalists who settled in Canada after the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Upon graduation from high school, she trained as a nurse, worked in Toronto and Yarmouth, and taught at Dalhousie University.  Later she ran her own weaving and design business and earned a Master of Business Administration from Halifax’s St Mary’s University.

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Kathleen Wynne

by Kelsey Wrightson

When Kathleen Wynne was sworn in as Ontario’s 25th premier on 11 February 2013, the event marked notable “firsts” in Canadian politics. Wynne became the first female leader of the nation’s largest province and Canada’s first openly gay premier. In 2013 Ontario had only 28% female MLAs and Equal Voice reported that very few identified as members of the LGBTQ community. Wynne’s election nevertheless represented a significant shift in electoral politics towards increasingly diverse representation.

The multilingual Wynne (English, French, German, Dutch)(Wells) holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queen’s University and a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the University of Toronto, as well as a Master of Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

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Lillian Dyck

by Kelsey Wrightson

Lillian Dyck is a Canadian Senator from Saskatchewan, appointed by Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2005. As one of the first Aboriginal women in Canada to pursue an academic career in the natural sciences, Dyck has been recognized as both a scholar and a leader for Aboriginal women. Reflecting the complexities of Canadian multiculturalism, she was both the first female Indigenous senator and the first Canadian-born senator of Chinese origin.

Dyck was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, to a China-born father, Yook Chun Quan, and a Saskatchewan-born Cree mother, Eva Muriel McNab, who was a member of the Gordon First Nation.

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Still Reason to March: the Valentine’s Day Women’s Memorial March

by Kelsey Wrightson

The Women’s Memorial March Committee (WMMC) is a grassroots organization working in Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC). Each year on Valentine’s Day, family members and their allies memorialize over 3000 missing and murdered women across Canada. February 14th, 2013 marks the 21st year of the annual demonstration that honours victims, directs national and international attention to this tragedy, and builds alliances with other groups calling for justice and substantive social change.

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Media Coverage of Chief Theresa Spence and Idle No More Winter 2012-13

by Kelsey Wrightson

In the winter of 2012-13 the Canadian media accelerated its coverage of Indigenous peoples, largely in response to the actions of one individual and one movement. The first was Chief Theresa Spence, who had first been elected chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation in Northern Ontario in August 2010; the second were the Idle No More protests that originated in Saskatchewan in December 2010.  At its best, media coverage provides an important forum for public education and discussion, a key foundation for the healthy functioning of democracy. However, coverage of Chief Spence and Idle No More provoked both backlash and debate.

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Sexism and Leadership: the Case of Julia Gillard

by Grace Lore

In 2010, Wales-born lawyer Julia Gillard (b 1961) became Australia’s first female prime minister after she seized the leadership of the Australian Labor Party from Kevin Rudd.  Several months later Gillard and her party won the national election and formed a minority government.  Her victory over Rudd was the first time an Australian prime minister was removed by their party during their first term in office.  It would not be the last, however. Just months before the 2013 election, the Labor caucus, by a 57 to 45 vote, withdrew its support and re-instituted Kevin Rudd.

Throughout her tenure as leader of Australia, Gillard faced explicit sexist personal attacks.

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Gender Representation in Cabinet: BC Election 2013

by Grace Lore

On 14 May 2013, more women were elected to the British Columbia Legislature than ever before.  The election saw the first women to be elected premier and if Premier Clark wins her seat on 10 July, 2013, as is largely expected, the proportion of women will reach a historic 37%. Given the dominance of the executive in the decision-making process and  control of government backbenchers in terms of both votes and political discourse, the number of women in cabinet matters as much and perhaps more.  Women constitute a record 40% of the new cabinet.

Historically, women in executive positions have been confined to the ‘pink collar ghetto’, designated portfolios associated with traditionally feminine roles.

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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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Religion in New Feminist Protest: the Case of Pussy Riot

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Religion is complicated territory for women. Theological beliefs of every kind routinely distinguish them from men, rarely to their emotional, physical, economic, or spiritual advantage. And yet that is never the only story. Humanity’s diverse stories of its relations with the divine sometimes promise consolation, identity, and even power to their devotees. The meaning of religion’s promise for women and girls, whether in Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, or Christianity, to name only the more prominent faiths, was much debated by 19th century feminists (see Stanton for example) and controversy continues into the 21st century (see Dayes and Tohidi).

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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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Margaret Charlotte Fisher Mahood (1918-2013): Musings on a Feminist Foremother

by Linda Kealey

I was reading the obituary column in the Globe and Mail recently (17 May 2013) and noticed a fulsome account of the life of Dr. Margaret Mahood, a name I did not know, even though she had been involved in feminist and progressive causes most of her long life. Born at the end of World War I in Saskatchewan, just at the moment when most women obtained the vote in federal elections, she, like many other ambitious young women who needed to earn a living, became a teacher in small town Saskatchewan where she met and later married Ed Mahood. With two small children to care for and a supportive husband, she studied medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and McGill University, one of very few women in the graduating class of 1955.

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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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The Canadian Citizenship Debates: the Franchise Act of 1885

by Veronica Strong-Boag

In the years after Confederation in 1867 the character of the Canadian state was far from settled. The franchise increasingly became the key marker of power and belonging. From March to June of 1885 the House of Commons debated the specifics of a federal franchise law to replace the provincial regulations that determined voting eligibility.

Bill 103 originally offered to enlarge the electorate with two new groups of voters: spinsters and widows meeting male property qualifications and Indians who occupied land in fee simple with improvements of $150 or more on their reserves anywhere in the Dominion.

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Youth Activism: the Case of Canadian Brigette DePape

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Canada has a long history of youthful protesters. In the 19th century, girls and young women demanded entry into Canadian colleges and universities. The youth of many first feminists should not be forgotten. Student doctors, such as Bishop’s Octavia Grace Ritchie (-England), Queen’s Elizabeth Smith (-Shortt), and Toronto’s Augusta Stowe (-Gullen) repudiated pervasive misogyny in their medical programs in the 1880s and went on to campaign for women’s rights (Hacker). Later on, generations of youthful activists honed their skills in groups such as the Student Christian Movement, the Council of Young Canadians, and the Student Union for Peace Action. Some found inspiration in political parties, notably but not only those of the left.

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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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Buffy Sainte-Marie

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Canadian-born, Indigenous activist and artist Buffy Sainte-Marie has championed democracy for over half a century. In 1963, her anti-war anthem “Universal Soldier” condemned the Vietnam War. In 2013, she stood before the Manitoba legislature to endorse Idle No More.  Sainte-Marie’s remarkable life began in very difficult circumstances on the Piapot Cree reserve in Saskatchewan. Like many other poor children, especially those from Canada’s Indigenous communities after World War Two (Strong-Boag), she was adopted out, in her case to a family with a mother with Micmac ancestry in Massachusetts, U.S.A.

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New Woman, New North: The Arctic Journey of Agnes Deans Cameron

by Tiffany Johnstone

As the 19th century drew to a close, the completion of the western portion of the C.P.R., along with the Klondike Gold Rush, spurred international interest in remote regions of Canada. In particular, well-known U.S. authors and journalists such as Hamlin Garland, Jack London, and W.H.H. Murray wrote about the Canadian northwest as a kind of mythic last frontier in which American (and by extension Canadian) men could somehow test their masculinity and relive frontier individualism (Bloom; Doyle).

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Angela Merkel: The Iron Mother

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Angela Merkel, the first female Chancellor of Germany (since 2005) and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is generally regarded as the most powerful woman in Europe and, given the power of Germany, one of the most powerful in the world.  She has regularly topped Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful women.

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A Double Life: The Legacy of E. Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake

by Tiffany Johnstone

On March 10th, 1913, flags were lowered as Vancouver came to a stand still for the largest funeral in the city’s history.  Huge crowds lined Georgia Street to witness the passage of E. Pauline Johnson’s coffin.  Vancouver was saying goodbye to an icon.  An internationally renowned poet and performance artist, Johnson played the difficult roles of defining Canada on the world stage and of making a place for women and First Nations people on that stage at the turn of the 20th century.

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Rose Henderson

by Peter Campbell

Little is known about the early life of Rose Henderson, who was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1871. Arriving in North America in 1885, she married accountant Charles Henderson and seemed destined to settle into an unremarkable and respectable life in Montréal, Québec. When her husband died suddenly in January 1904 Henderson was still a young woman in her mid-30s, the mother of one daughter, Ida. Encountering poverty-stricken young people during Sunday School visits following her husband’s death, Henderson became committed to improving the lives of disadvantaged women and children.

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Mary Ellen Spear Smith

by Veronica Strong-Boag

This first female member of the British Columbia Legislature and the first female cabinet minister in the British Commonwealth has often been overlooked by both the public and by scholars.  She should not be. In many ways Mary Ellen Smith is the archetypal political representative of Canada’s first feminist movement. Her near oblivion until her designation as a National Historic Person in Canada in 2006 only confirmed the need to recover the activist generation that substantially enlarged the Canadian electorate and put so-called ‘women’s issues’ legislatively centre-front in the 1920s.

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Idle No More

by Kelsey Wrightson

Idle No More, a grassroots protest originating in Canada and founded by four Indigenous and non-Indigenous women in early October, began to capture national and international attention by December 2012. The founders, Sheelah McLean, Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam and Jess Gordon hail from Saskatchewan, a Canadian province with a longstanding history of both Indigenous protest (such as Louis Riel) and progressive politics (it’s the birthplace of both the radical Saskatchewan Women Grain Growers and Canadian medicare).

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First Nations’ Enfranchisement in Canada

by Kelsey Wrightson

First Nations peoples in Canada have a complex historic, legal, and symbolic relationship to enfranchisement. The vast majority could not vote in federal elections until a 1960 change in the Indian act legally reclassified ‘Indians’ as no longer “wards of the state.” Despite this long-delayed inclusion of Aboriginal people within the democratic electoral process, enfranchisement has never been a straightforward benefit.

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Two Row Wampum Treaty

by Kelsey Wrightson

Relationships between Settler and Indigenous peoples in Canada have long been negotiated and organized by treaties. One of the oldest and most important in North America is the “Two-Row Wampum” treaty between the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) and the Dutch. This treaty remains critical in understanding historic and contemporary relationships between settler and Indigenous peoples and the evolution and construction of political opportunity for both.

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Tammy Baldwin

by Kelsey Wrightson

In the American Federal election on the 6th of November 2012, Tammy Baldwin was elected as Senator for the State of Wisconsin. Her victory is remarkable because she defeated well-liked Republican Senator Tommy Thompson. Even more importantly, she is also the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the Senate and the first openly gay Senator.

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Liberalism’s Blindspots = Exclusionary Canadian Democracy

by David Moscrop

In a recent op-ed about the Idle No More campaign I argued that liberalism, as a political philosophy, has blindspots. As a foundational philosophy in Canada and as the centre of our politics, liberalism, I suggested, has left many of us unable to understand where marginalized groups, such as Indigenous Canadians, are coming from when they try to advance so-called “special” claims that run counter to the liberal belief in pure equality and freedom. There are many such blindspots, and their history is complicated, but it’s worth identifying some of them and tracing their provenance.

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Senator Muriel McQueen Fergusson Defends the Senate

by Gail Campbell

Calls for reformation and even abolition of the Senate predated Muriel McQueen Fergusson’s appointment to that body as a representative for New Brunswick in 1953. As she recalled, ‘one story told me soon after my appointment was that there were two brothers, and one went to sea and the other to the Senate and neither had been heard of since.’ But her own experience taught her that ‘though senators may not be heard of very much by the general public, many of them are working hard in ways that are very important to the country,’ and she became one of the Senate’s most eloquent defenders (1954). Her defence of the Senate remains relevant today.

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Muriel McQueen Fergusson

by Gail Campbell

Diminutive in stature and self-deprecating in manner, Muriel McQueen Fergusson possessed an incisive mind and sharp wit. A lawyer by profession, she served as New Brunswick’s Regional Enforcement Counsel for the Wartime Prices and Trade Board during the Second World War and subsequently as Regional Director of Family Allowances and Old Age Security. Called to the Senate in 1953, she was appointed its first female Speaker in 1972.

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Transsexual Women and Political Presence

by Raewyn Connell

Transsexual women are a small group with a very complex political history, who – without wishing to – have been the focus of troubling problems in projects of political and social change.  An inclusive democracy needs to include transsexual women’s voices; but how is their accent to be defined.

Transsexual women are women who have been through a process of transition from another position in the gender order: usually born with male (sometimes intersex) bodies, and usually brought up as boys.  They have had to negotiate a strongly contradictory process of gender embodiment, often involving wrenching personal conflict and social stigma.  Transition, usually undertaken in adulthood (though sometimes in adolescence) is an attempt to resolve this situation, gain recognition as women rather than men, and construct a path forward in life on this basis.

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Park Geun-hye

by Veronica Strong-Boag

On 19 December 2012 Park Geun-hye won the tightly fought election that would make her in February 2013 the first female president for South Korea, which ranked 115th in the 2009 World Economic Forum’s Gender Equality Index. In 2005, the country had seen the appointment of its first female prime minister, Han Myeong-Sook (b 1944), a former Minister of Gender Equality (2001-2003), a long time progressive politician, and graduate of Ewha Woman’s University.

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Mary Ann Shadd Cary

by Veronica Strong-Boag

The eldest of 13 children, Quaker-educated Mary Ann Shadd was born to free Black parents active in the Underground Railroad, which moved African American slaves from the southern states into the free north and Canada. Like many ambitious young women, she became a teacher, first in Delaware, and then in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 1849 she published the pamphlet, Hints to the Colored People of the North, endorsing the self-help agenda of industry, thrift, and schooling.

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The National Day of Remembrance and Action Against Violence Against Women

by Grace Lore

December 6th marks the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women in Canada. Twenty-two years ago the day was established by the Parliament of Canada to commemorate the death of 14 young women, thirteen students and one staff, at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal; all were murdered because they were women.  In marking this day, it remains critical to consider exactly what ought to be remembered and what actions ought to result.

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Mad Women’s Political Participation: Initiating Discussion of Potential Barriers in Canada

by Tobin LeBlanc Haley

In the last decade there has been an explosion of government inquiry into psychiatric disability accompanied by a call for “consumer/client” input into Canada’s mental health initiatives.  Despite increased attention to psychiatric disability and calls for “consumer/client” participation, substantial gender analysis is absent from these reports and from broader discussions of psychiatric disability and welfare-state reform.

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Ivan Coyote

by Samantha Lustig

Born and raised near Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, to working class parents, Ivan Coyote is a lesbian poet, prose writer, and storyteller who has travelled throughout North America and Europe. Beginning in 1992, Coyote’s writing has raised awareness and promoted acceptance of the diverse queer community. She is an award-winning author of seven short story collections, and her most recent book One in Every Crowd was published in March 2012 by Arsenal Pulp Press. Coyote is also known for her novel Bow Grip (2006), as well as several CDs of storytelling set to music.

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Aung San Suu Kyi

by Lindsey Massar

Renowned for her political activism and personal sacrifice, Aung San Suu Kyi has emerged as a global icon for human rights and democracy (Diamond, 2012).  Aung San Suu Kyi’s upbringing fits the classic picture of the South Asian political elite: daughter of an eminent leader, and privileged by an international education, she was primed for a public life from early childhood.

Born in Rangoon in 1945, Aung San Suu Kyi was the third child of Daw Khin Kyi, a nurse in Rangoon General Hospital, and Burma Independence Army Commander, General Aung San. A prominent actor in the national fight for independence from Britain after World War II, Aung San was revered as a political hero (Diamond, 2012: 315).

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Diane M. Kelly

by Lisa Hale

Diane M. Kelly of the Ojibway Onigaming First Nation was the first woman ever elected Grand Chief of the Grand Council of Treaty #3, which encompasses parts of northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba. She served in the capacity of Grand Chief from 2008 to 2012. Kelly was also the first Anishinaabe woman from Treaty #3 to become a lawyer. She was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1995 and the Ontario Bar in 1998.

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Joan Jack

by Lisa Hale

Joan Jack (Aanishinaabe Ikwe) of Berens River First Nation is a lawyer and specialist in Aboriginal and treaty rights. Jack was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1996 and worked as Lands and Resources director with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation. She taught business and native studies at the Northern Lights College in Atlin, BC. In 2003, Jack returned to Manitoba and opened the Joan Jack Law Office. In January 2012, she was elected councilor in Berens River. She is leading a class action lawsuit seeking $15 billion in damages on behalf of “Indian day school” survivors.

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Pamela Palmater

by Lisa Hale

Dr. Pamela D. Palmater (Mi’kmaq), member of the Eel River Bar First Nation, is a prominent lawyer and activist for the rights of Indigenous people and nations. During the 2012 leadership race for national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), Palmater challenged incumbent Sean Atleo, in hopes of becoming the first woman to lead the assembly.

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Katsitsakwas Ellen Gabriel

by Lisa Hale

Katsitsakwas Ellen Gabriel (Kanien’kehá:ka Nation – Turtle Clan) first rose to prominence during her community’s resistance to a proposed expansion of a private nine-hole golf course into a sacred grove of pines near the town of Oka, Quebec in 1990. The resulting standoff at Kanehsatà:ke between Mohawk people and the Canadian army became known as the “Oka crisis,” and lasted for 78 days. Gabriel was chosen by the People of the Longhouse to act as a spokesperson for the community, and she became one of the faces of the struggle against the destruction of the pine grove.

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Malala Yousufzai

by Kelsey Wrightson

On 9 October  2012, 14 year old Pakistani school girl Malala Yousufzai was shot in the head and neck by a Taliban gunman, targeted because she publically promoted education for girls. She was returning from school in the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley of Pakistan when two gunmen flagged down her school bus and fired on Malala and two other children. Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, stated to the BBC Urdu service that the attack was justified because Malala “promoted secularism.”  He said that if survives this attack she will continue to be targeted.

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A Heritage Message: the Asian Canadian Wiki project

by Elena Kusaka, on behalf of the Asian Canadian Wiki Committee

In May 2012 two Canadian universities launched programs in Asian Canadian studies. From the Musqueam territory on the Westcoast, the University of British Columbia announced theirs in the midst of the hard-won Japanese Canadian UBC students of 1941 tribute ceremony. The ceremony was a bittersweet moment in Asian Canadian history. A university was making amends for wartime racism, and affirming a commitment to the potential of educators to illuminate rather than discriminate. In Ontario, the University of Toronto’s Chancellor Emerita, Vivenne Poy announced the minor in Asian Canadian studies at an Asian Heritage Month national videoconference. It was a fitting event for such a message. Read the full post here!

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The Representation of Women and Women’s Issues in Canada’s Western Provinces

by Grace Lore

Women are under-represented in political arenas worldwide and Canada, where women make up only between one-tenth and one-third of all provincial politicians, is no exception. Equal access to political participation and representation is crucial to the quality of democracy and the under-representation of women is symbolically important. But does the relative absence of women in provincial politics also mean that issues important to women receive little attention? Do women politicians represent women’s interests in their speeches and statements? If they do, then having so few women in provincial politics may result in political discourse and policies that do not adequately address women’s issues and gender equality.

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Japanese Canadian Soldiers of the First World War and the Fight to Win the Vote: Designated a ‘National Historic Event’ 2011

by Lyle Dick

Resolutely determined to serve their country despite not being fully recognized as equal citizens, 222 Japanese Canadian soldiers overcame prejudice and barriers to enlistment and fought for Canada on the Western Front of the First World War between 1916 and 1918.

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Fermement déterminés à se battre pour leur pays malgré le fait qu’ils n’étaient pas pleinement reconnus comme des citoyens canadiens, 222 soldats canadiens d’origine japonaise ont surmonté préjugés et obstacles pour s’enrôler et servir le Canada sur le front occidental entre 1916 et 1918.

Lire cette histoire en française!

Mary Russell Chesley

by Sharon MacDonald

The example of outspoken suffragist and peace advocate Mary Russell Chesley, from the small town of Lunenburg in Nova Scotia and an active leader in the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), contradicts earlier historians’ assumptions that urban women led the struggle and those working through such organizations as the WCTU tended to be conservative in their politics.

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Violet McNaughton

by Georgina M. Taylor

Violet Jackson, who went on to become one of western Canada’s most extraordinary suffragists, was born and raised in radical north Kent in England. Progressive politics were encouraged by co-operators and radicals in her family and others in the area. Her ancestors took an active part in rebellions in north Kent and James Terry, her great grandfather, was a founder of the Sheerness Co-operative. Founded by dockworkers in 1816 to supply good food and water for their families, it was the oldest co-operative in England in 1863. After work, James and his wife Sarah were water carriers for the co-operative. Violet had rickets as a baby so she was small in stature. All her life others called her “the mighty mite” and similar names indicating her small stature and her indomitable spirit.

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Ellen Louks Fairclough

by Margaret Conrad

Ellen Louks Fairclough was Canada’s first female federal cabinet minister. Appointed in 1957 as Secretary of State in the Progressive Conservative (PC) administration led by John Diefenbaker, she served as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration from 1958 to 1962 and then as Postmaster General until both she and her party were defeated in the April 1963 federal election.  Fairclough’s appointment, which came a generation after women were appointed to cabinets in Great Britain (Margaret Bondfield, 1929) and the United States (Frances Perkins, 1933) marked a significant milestone in the efforts by Canadian women to achieve political representation following the granting of female suffrage at the federal level in 1918.

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Gert Harding

by Gretchen Kelbaugh

Are you starved, as I am, to read more books about heroic Canadian women? To see movies on the big screen about brave women – from any country – who stand up to oppression and help change the course of humanity? Not many know it, but Canada has such a heroine.

Gert Harding, who grew up on a farm in rural New Brunswick, joined one of the most radical groups of women ever to fight for a woman’s cause: the militant suffragettes of Great Britain (members of the Women’s Social and Political Union were dubbed suffragettes by the press.)

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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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Improving Canadian Democracy: From Theory to Practice

by Kennedy Stewart

The dominant democratic challenge of our time concerns reversing declining public participation in politics. Disappointing voter turnout levels are well documented in practically every newspaper and magazine article in which election results are discussed as well as a huge body of academic work. I focused a good deal of my university career on discovering how to improve voter turnout and, as a recently elected politician, now turn my attention to implementing these ideas.

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Wilma Mankiller

by Kathryn Magee Labelle

Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee Nation) dedicated her life to the specific betterment of her people and Native America in general. She participated in the Native American Red Power movement and was present at the occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969—calling attention to the importance of Indigenous rights, self-governance and decolonization. Her passion translated into a long a successful political career as one of the first women to lead a Native American tribe in the 20th century.

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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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A Conflicted Alliance: Canadian and American Suffragists in Times of War

by Shannon Risk

For the final stretch of the women’s suffrage movement in Canada and the United States in the early 1900s, suffragists continued a conflicted alliance with their government in times of war. The World War I era differed from previous ones when it came to the association between women’s war work and gaining the vote. Women had engaged in patriotic organizations in the 1800s, for example, advancing goals of the state in the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Through organizations like these, women entered into war and governmental work in the World War I era.

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International Women’s Day

by Veronica Strong-Boag

By the end of the 20th century, March 8th was globally celebrated as International Women’s Day or IWD. This recognition has slowly become more than a doff of the hat to the world’s women. It now serves as an inspirational call for sisterhood in action. Its origins date to 1910 when an International Women’s Conference associated with the Second Socialist International endorsed a special day of global recognition (following up a 1909 claim for a national day by the Socialist Party of America).

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Female Nobel Peace Prize Winners

by Veronica Strong-Boag

(Photo by: Harry Wad)

Why should this be a distinctive post in this website? Women Nobel Prize winners represent a persisting dream of the global women’s movement. Since the latter’s emergence in the 19th century, particularly in association with the International Council of Women (founded 1888), peace and arbitration have been widely embraced as core goals of global feminism. This was even more dramatically expressed in the vision of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (founded 1915) and initiatives such as Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (established 1981).

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Women Governors General of Canada

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Canada is a self-governing member of the British Commonwealth, previously the British Empire. The official head of state remains the British monarch and the governor general is their representative. The office’s origins are closely tied to the military and diplomatic power of the United Kingdom and the assumption that colonial politicians needed guidance, if not discipline, from London.

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Temporary Foreign Workers and Political Agency in Canada

by Genevieve LeBaron

Temporary foreign worker programs have accelerated rapidly in Canada in recent decades, with important consequences for democratic participation in Canada and migrants’ countries of origin. Since Canada’s Non-immigrant Employment Authorization Program was established in 1973, and expanded with the introduction of Bill C-11 in 2001, a number of programs have facilitated the entrance of (im)migrants as workers, but make it increasingly difficult for certain groups to enter, live, and work as permanent residents and, eventually, formal citizens (Sharma 2001: 416).

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Gloria Steinem

by Genevieve LeBaron

A staunch advocate of reproductive freedom and women’s equality, Gloria Steinem is a writer and activist who has embraced feminist and social justice movements for over forty years. She is widely considered one of the original founders of the modern American women’s movement and travels within the U.S.A. and worldwide as an organizer and lecturer on issues of equality.

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Barney Frank

by Genevieve LeBaron

Widely considered the most prominent gay politician in the U.S.A., Barney Frank is the Democratic US Representative for Massachusetts’ 4th congressional district (1981- present). He is the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, where he remains the ranking Democrat.

He has been outspoken on many civil rights issues, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. In 1998, Frank founded the National Stonewall Democrats, the national LGBT Democratic organization. In 2006, Frank and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were accused by Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) of having a “radical homosexual agenda”; Frank responded, “I do have things I would like to see adopted on behalf of LGBT people: they involve the right to marry the individual of our choice; the right to serve in the military to defend our country; and the right to a job based on our own qualifications.

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Harvey Milk

by Genevieve LeBaron

Harvey Milk was a city supervisor of San Francisco and the first openly gay officer in the city’s history. He, along with San Francisco mayor George Moscone, was shot and killed on November 27, 1978 by Dan White, a former supervisor who had resigned his post in protest of Milk’s only significant piece of legislation—a landmark gay rights ordinance.

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Viola Desmond

by Genevieve LeBaron

A successful businesswoman and beautician in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Viola Desmond is often described as Canada’s Rosa Parks since on November 8, 1946 she refused to sit in the balcony designated exclusively for blacks in the Roseland Theatre. After deciding to see a movie while waiting for her car to be repaired, Desmond requested floor seats and paid for the ticket, then, although a Black Nova Scotian, took her seat on the ground floor, designated white only.

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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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The Opponents of Woman Suffrage

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Wherever feminism reaps success or threatens the status quo, anti-feminist movements tend to arise (Chafetz and Dworkin, 37). Allied, as they often have been with other defenses of existing privilege, they can be powerful, as Genevieve had indicated in her post here on anti-suffragists in the USA South. Suffrage campaigners everywhere faced determined opposition.

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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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Leymah Gbowee

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Gbowee was born in Liberia and in her teens was deeply influenced by that nation’s descent into civil war. Married with children, she faced near starvation as a young mother. She became increasingly committed to Christian peace activism and earned an undergraduate degree at Mother Patern College of Health Sciences. She used her training to help child soldiers and helped organize the Women in Peacebuilding Network and the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which brought together Christians and Muslims.

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Tawakkol Karman

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Tawakkol (spelling varies) Karman was born into a prominent political family in Yemen and is married and the mother of three children. She has an undergraduate degree in commerce and a graduate degree in political science. Karman is a prominent Yemini human rights activist, journalist, and co-founder of Women Journalists without Chains (2005).

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Ellen Johnson was born to an ethnically mixed family in difficult circumstances in Monrovia. She studied economics and accounting at the College of West Africa and completed a Master of Public Administration at Harvard in 1971. She married at age 17 and has four sons. In the 1970s she worked for the Liberian government in a period of great political turbulence.

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John Campbell Gordon

by Veronica Strong-Boag

The Earl of Aberdeen has been best known as the British Viceroy of Ireland (1886; 1905-1915) and Governor General of Canada (1893-96). His grandfather, Lord Aberdeen, had been prime minister of the United Kingdom and his family were leading landlords in eastern Scotland. Deaths of a father and two older brothers brought him unexpectedly to the title in 1870. This Gordon was also a Victorian and Edwardian feminist and suffragist. He developed that allegiance as a result of his evangelical, scientific, and political faith and his marriage to Ishbel Marjoribanks (1857-1939) in 1877. A progressive Presbyterian, he was deeply influenced by the social gospel of his day and a supporter of foreign and domestic missions, settlement houses, urban renewal, children’s welfare, and labour unions.

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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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Anti-Suffrage Movements in the USA South

by Genevieve LeBaron

While the cause helped unify diverse groups with different agendas in the United States (US), as in Britain and Canada, suffrage roused great controversy and opposition. Peaking at a time of considerable ferment in the meanings and configurations of race, gender, and class in the US, advocates themselves split over white supremacy, the role of the state, and property ownership. The American South proved a special battlefield.

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Margaret Thatcher

by Veronica Strong-Boag

In 2011, the film, “The Iron Lady,” directed and written by and starring a woman, reignited longstanding controversy about Britain’s first female prime minister. Once again feminists wondered what to make of her and the social and print media went wild with debate.

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Kim Campbell

by Genevieve LeBaron

Canada’s first and only female prime minister, in office for only four months (June 25, 1993 to November 4, 1993), Kim Campbell has long been a subject of feminist debates about representation, gender, and politics in Canada. She was also its first female Minister of Justice, Attorney General, and Minister of National Defence, in the latter case a first in NATO as well. As the first woman to have held office in all three levels of government (municipal, provincial, and federal), Campbell is often heralded as trailblazer for women. When Campbell appeared before her volunteers after being elected leader of the Conservative Party, they started chanting “Four more years!” Campbell shook her head and yelled “Ten more years!”—reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s promise to take the British Conservative Party into the next millennium.

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Hilary Rodham Clinton

by Genevieve LeBaron

In the late 1990s, many in the United States loved to hate then First Lady Hillary Clinton. Indeed, after her husband Bill had been president for four years, scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in 1996 that “Hillary-hating has become one of those national pastimes which unite the elite and the lumpen.” The same year, historian Garry Wills noted, “Hillary Hate is a large-scale psychic phenomenon. At the Republican convention there was a dismemberment doll on sale. For twenty dollars you could buy a rag-doll Hillary with arms and legs made to tear off and throw on the floor” (as quoted in Kohrs 1998: 1). Talk shows were full of speculation about Clinton’s purported lesbianism and drug use andThe Nation declared, early in her husband’s presidency, that the country had a “quasi-pornographic obsession” with Hillary (17 May 1993). Clinton’s U.S. Senate election campaigns in 2000 and 2006 brought little relief from the onslaught.

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USA Suffrage Literature

by Mary Chapman

From the early 1850s, when an organized national women’s rights movement emerged, to 1920, when the 19th Amendment enfranchising women was ratified, U.S. women writers from a variety of racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds published hundreds of short stories, novels, poems, plays, essays and conversion narratives in support of woman suffrage.

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The Vote and Presumed Mental Ability

by Veronica Strong-Boag

Groups excluded from the vote have often been told that they didn’t have the ‘right stuff’ to participate in choosing governments. When women have been denied, they have been regularly described as too emotional and lacking in critical judgment.  Much the same has been said about similarly disadvantaged racial groups.  Literacy requirements have made the same link between political competence and particular evidence of intelligence.

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The History of Women’s Suffrage in Quebec

by Genevieve LeBaron

Until the end of the 19th century, women in Quebec enjoyed more possible rights than their counterparts in Canada’s other provinces and territories. In those jurisdictions ruled by Common Law, a wife had no legal existence separate from her husband since, at marriage, a man obtained absolute control of the woman’s person and assets. In Quebec, however, the Civil Code initially permitted women political and legal status (however limited).

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Prisoners and the Right to Vote in the United States

by Genevieve LeBaron

The United States bars nearly 5.3 million American citizens from the vote on the grounds that they committed a crime: only 25% are in prison or jail and 75% are either on probation or parole or have completed their sentences (ACLU 2006: 3). Indeed, while it may not come as a surprise that 48 states and the District of Columbia prohibit inmates from voting while incarcerated for a felony offense, lesser known is that even after the terms of punishment expires, some states deny the right to vote for a period ranging from a number of years to the rest of one’s life.

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Women’s Suffrage in Japan in the 20th Century

by K. M. Christensen

In 1931, the women’s movement might have seemed ready for a great leap forward. Legislation providing restricted suffrage had passed a vote in the Lower House of the Diet. Soon enough, however, that victory proved hollow when the bill failed in the Upper House (Mackie 92). Worse was to come. Shortly thereafter the Japanese government had no time for anything but the pursuit of war on the Asian mainland. Japan’s 1933 withdrawal from the League of Nations confirmed the worsening scenario for civil rights generally.

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