In reversal to point out the unfairness

In the past, women were considered to be second-hand citizens. Prior to World War I, women had little to no rights. Ever since then, women’s rights have vastly expanded as a result of women such as Nellie McClung who fought hard for the rights and freedom of all women. During both World Wars, women demonstrated that they had the ability to do the same work as men. Today, women have the same rights as men and are rightfully considered equal to men. This was a very hard and long fought journey for women, but after years of fighting inequality they finally triumphed.  Many people believe that the begining of women’s rights had a lot to do with women working on the homefront during World War I, where women were needed to help with the war effort by filling the gaps left by the men who went to fight in the war. During this time women worked in ammunition and weapons factories. If this had never happened, women’s rights may have never progressed. As a result of World War I, the first major expansion of women’s rights occurred. Prior to World War I, women had little to no rights and they were expected to stay at home and take care of the household and children. On January 28, 1914, a few months before World War I, Nellie McClung and other members of the Manitoba Political Equality League staged a mock “Women’s Parliament” in Winnipeg’s Walker Theatre to debate the question of whether men should be allowed to vote. The mock parliament used humour through gender role reversal to point out the unfairness of denying women the right to vote. This organized debate opened many eyes and triggered people to think about the topic. When the war first started nothing changed for women, but with the shortage of factory workers, the only people left capable of fulfilling these jobs were in fact, women. At this point in time people started to look at women differently and realized, that women were capable of doing anything that men could do. Halfway through the first World War, On January 28, 1916, women in Manitoba were the first in Canada to gain the right to vote and run for office in Provincial Elections when the Manitoba Legislative Assembly passed in Canada an act to amend the Manitoba Election Act. This was the first major act passed in Canada supporting women’s rights. A few months later, on March 14, 1916, Saskatchewan followed suit and passed an act to amend the Saskatchewan Election Act, and women in Saskatchewan gained the right to vote. This was a major factor in the development of women’s rights because these political decisions sparked the long term development of women’s rights in Canada. Finally, on May 24, 1918, women gained the right to vote in federal elections through An Act to Confer Electoral Franchise Upon Women. In order to be eligible, women had to be 21 or older, born in Canada, and had to meet meet property requirements in the provinces where they lived. About one decade later, on October 18, 1929, The Famous Five, which consists of Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Louise Crummy McKinney, take their case to The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England, which overturns the decision of the Canadian Supreme Court’s “Persons” case and recognizes Canadian women as persons under the law. As a result, women are “eligible to be summoned to and become members of the Senate of Canada”.  These events demonstrated that the women’s rights movement in Canada was brought to attention during the first World War in 1914. World War II was another major factor affecting women’s rights. Similar to the first World War, women took over men’s jobs as they were fighting overseas. Legally, no major changes were made to affect women’s rights in Canada, but the role of women in Canadian society changed dramatically during the second World War. Once again, women worked in factories, on airfields, and on farms. This time, over fifty thousand women enlisted into the Canadian Army, and more than half served in the Canadian Army. Faced with a shortage of soldiers in 1940,  the National Defence Headquarters of Canada began considering the possibility of employing uniformed women to relieve men for active service. Thousands of Canadian women organized into volunteer women’s service corps and petitioned the government for the right to serve their country in uniform. Between July 1941 and March 1942, the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the Canadian Army Corps opened their doors to women. This was yet another crucial step forward because this demonstrated that women could do anything, including fighting overseas. By this time, all women finally had the right to vote throughout Canada, provincially and federally. This is as a result of women proving themselves during the first World War. If women never initiated talks and fought for equal rights, their advancement would have never occurred. After the second World War, women’s rights began increasing, starting with the Female Employee’s Fair Remuneration Act being passed in Ontario. The Female Employee’s Fair Remuneration Act addressed the problem in which some workplaces were paying men more than women for preforming the same job. This Act provided women with equal pay for work of equal value. In 1956, the federal government passed The Female Employee’s Fair Remuneration Act. In 1957, Ellen Fairclough became the first woman in Canada to be appointed to the federal cabinet where Prime Minister John Diefenbaker named her Secretary of State. In 1964, Bill 16 was passed which gave married women the same rights as their husbands. One decade later, in 1974, the very first female RCMP recruits began training in Regina, and in 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was added as part of the Constitution Act, which included political rights, fundamental freedoms, anti-discriminatory provisions, and equal pay provisions. Women now had the same rights as everyone in Canada and could not be discriminated against. In conclusion, women’s rights have come a long way since 1914, and this is all due to strong and hardworking women such as Nellie McClung who fought hard and never gave up while fighting for women’s rights and gender equality. Without women working on the homefront and on the battlefields in both of the world wars, women’s rights would have never advanced at the rate they did. Women had a major role in Canada’s history and development as a nation, and thanks to all the hard working women who never gave up on fighting for their rights, they eventually achieved their goal of gender equality.