My GreatGrandmother Was Not A Person Essay

My Great-Grandmother Was Not A Person Essay, Research Paper

My Great-Grandmother was not a Person

My Great-Grandmother was not a person. Neither was yours. Up until about 67

years ago no females were. We were supposed to be pregnant and barefoot in the

kitchen. At least that’s the perception that the laws enforced. (For ex: The

Election Act of the Dominion of Canada and The Common Law of England) As part of

the British Commonwealth many of our laws were the same as England’s and

enforced by British parliament. One such law from the Common Law of England

stated that “A woman is not a person in matters of rights and privileges, but

she is a person in matters of pains and penalties.” This gave women second class


Women were not recognized as equals to men, even though the expectations of

women were such that the work load was equal if not greater. As pioneer women we

built homes, raised families, maintained the homestead, hunted food, fought

natives, made clothes, cooked, cleaned, as well as the many manual labour jobs

that men held. For example, women worked in coal mines, armories, and aided the

war effort via the manufacturing industry, such as factorys. If this is what is

determeined as equality then women were getting the short end of the stick and

men were receiving all of the benifit. This perception still holds strong today,

although not as strongly.

Men said that women were to fragile to vote. Yet no man has ever experienced

labor pains. Furthermore no man has fought any battle that was as hard as the

one the famous five women have fought. The Election Act of the Dominion of

Canada states that “No woman, idiot, lunatic, or criminal shall vote.” So women

are equal to criminals? It’s not a crime to be a woman. We should not be judged

by our sex. On April 19, 1916 women in Alberta were granted the right to vote. A

small battle was won. Five Canadian women have conquered countries and nations

for their rights. When questionning the wording of “qualified persons to the

senate” the Supreme Court of Canada rejected that the word “persons” included

women. This battle was lost but the war was won when the Privy Council of

England (the highest court in the land) ruled that the word “persons” included

women. That was the 18th of October, 1929.

The famous five women are: Irene Perlby, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir

Edwards, Louise McKinney, and Emily Murphy. These women have fought a battle of

sexism that is of historic importance. Millions of women in Canada have these

five women to thank for the past 67 years of equality’

Today the battle of the sexes still rages on where equality is still an issue

in our daily lives.

“Despite all my rage / I’m still just a rat in a cage”

B. Corgan

Smashing Pumpkins

The views of society are that women are the inferior sex even though the law

recognizes women as equals. Not until such time that women start becoming a

predominant force in government, the workplace and can educate this equality to

everybody; then will the battle of the sexes end. Today’s woman can use her

energies to fight the destructive forces of the marketing machine. Men can help

too. Large corporations, fashions, Hollywood, Disney, Mattel and every sort of

advertising that exploits women have a destructive message for society, that

women are not perceived as equals. By educating out children and the following

generations that gender equality is an important value that society should


The Famous Five fought the legal war that recognizes women as equals. It’s

time for us to fight society’s gender war. We are here as humans, as people, as

equals, as persons.

I’ll leave you with this closing thought…

“No woman can become or remain degraded without all women suffering.”

E. Murphy



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