Women's rights movement marks 90-year anniversary in Calgary
Published Friday, October 18, 2019 12:18PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, October 18, 2019 7:24PM MDT
CALGARY —Persons Day was celebrated Friday, on the 90th anniversary of the victory of the Persons Case, which officially recognized women as qualified persons in Canada.
Members of the Famous 5 Foundation, a woman-focussed non-profit, hosted crowds for a gathering at the monument that celebrates those five women, in Olympic Plaza Friday afternoon.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nensh proclaimed October 18 as Persons Day.
Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, Henrietta Muir Edwards and Nellie McClung worked together to win their court appeal on Oct. 18, 1929.
It overturned the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling that women could not be appointed to the Senate.
"The Famous Five were incredibly brave," said Frances Wright, co-founder of the Famous 5 Foundation, in an interview with CTV News. "When you think that they changed a law in Canada, changed the perception of the role that women would play in Canada and they did this without a phone!"
Alberta Senator and former longtime Edmonton Journal columnist Paula Simon also addressed the crowd.
"I'm really lucky," she said, "to have joined the Senate at a time when so many women broke trail before me."
Currently 52 of sitting 105 Senators are women.
The Okotoks Museum and Archives also hosted a "Pink Tea" party.
The Famous Five and supporters would gather this way to discuss women's rights to block suspicion from men or other opponents.
"We have to remember that," said organizer Kathy Coutts, "and acknowledge the women who had the strength of character and determination to bring about change.
"If you look at the past and how it was groups of individuals coming together to right a perceived wrong, there's strength in numbers, but every voice matters."