The Famous Five and the Persons Case Essay

The Famous Five and the Persons Case Essay

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What if you did not count as a person anymore? You would be denied of many rights and freedoms we take for granted today. This was the situation women faced in the past. Before 1929, women didn’t count as “persons”. Although they weren’t denied of all their rights, women weren’t allowed to become senators. Five women in Alberta decided to take action and formed the Famous Five. The Famous Five fought for the rights of women by winning the Persons Case and they’re the reason why women are considered persons today.
The Famous Five are prominent people in Canadian history and they have established many of our rights. The Famous Five consists of Emily Murphy, Henrietta Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parbly. They are most well-known for winning the Persons Case, but the Famous Five also contributed to the creation of libraries, travelling health clinics, distance education, mother’s allowance, equal citizenship of mothers and fathers, and prison reform. The Famous Five have made many significant contributions to Canada.
The Famous Five are most well-known for winning the Persons Case. The Persons Case started with Emily Murphy wanting to be Canada’s first women senator. She was supported by the Federated Women’s Institute and National Council of Women. Also, over 500 000 people wrote letters and signed petitions to support Murphy being appointed as a senator (Alberta Online Encyclopedia, 2004). However, Robert Borden, the Prime Minister during that time, refused to appoint Murphy into the Senate as women weren’t “persons”. Two other prime ministers, Meighen and Mackenzie both promised to make changes to the British North American Act to include women as persons, but both failed to do so. Frustrated, Emily Murphy...


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...ugh the Persons Case gave women more rights, it still didn’t mean everyone was treated fairly. Some women were still unable to vote because of their race. In addition, after the appointment of Wilson to the Senate, the government appointed only a few women as senators. For example, in the 18 years Prime Minister Mackenzie King served in office, he appointed 67 senators. None of them were women. (T. Tyler, 2007). This shows that the victory of the Persons Case didn’t mean that women were always treated equally.
The Persons Case gave women more rights and equality. It allowed women to contribute more to society and be involved politically. The fact that one third of Canada’s Senate is women shows the Persons Case’s influence on our society. Although women weren’t always treated equally after the Persons Case, it gave them many opportunities they didn’t have before.

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