Canadian Women's 150: 150 Years of Canadian Women's Accomplishments
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|1876||Dr. Emily Stow, a Pioneer physician, becomes the first Canadian female doctor to practice in Canada.|
|1897||Dr. Clara Brett Martin becomes the first woman to practice law in Canada as well as the entire British Empire.|
|1900||The Married Women’s Property Act is enacted - this allows a wife to own property separately from her husband, and also gave women the legal ability to control their own wages and profits. Women are now also jointly responsible for the support of their children.|
|1912||Carie Derick becomes the first woman in Canada to become a full professor, at McGill University in Montreal.|
|1916||White women from Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan are now legally allowed to vote in their province.
Emily Murphy is appointed Canada’s first female judge.
|1917||White women in Ontario and British Columbia obtain voting rights in their provinces.|
|1918||White Canadian women win the right to vote in federal elections.|
|1919||White women in New Brunswick achieve the right to vote in their province.|
|1920's||The Women’s Labour League emerges in Canada. Modeled on the British Women’s League, they defend female workers and call for equal pay, maternity leave, birth control and minimum wage laws.|
|1921||British Columbia passes maternity leave legislation - six weeks of leave before and after giving birth. No other Canadian jurisdiction will have maternity leave until 1964, almost 40 years later.
17.7% of women 14 years and older are employed in the labour force, mainly in office work.
Nellie McClung, Liberal MPP is elected to the Alberta legislature. She campaigns for mothers’ allowance, old age pensions, better factory conditions, minimum wage, birth control, and legal protection for widows.
|1922||White women in Prince Edward Island win the right to vote in their province.|
|1925||In Newfoundland, white women 25 years and older win the right to vote.|
|The ‘Persons’ Case’ - The Famous Five Women petition the Senate and the Privy Council of Great Britain to make women “persons” as well. They successfully win.|
|1928||Canada’s Olympic Team includes women for the first time.
Anna Dexter becomes Canada’s first female radio broadcaster.
|1930’s||19.4% of women aged 14 years and older are part of the labour force, sometimes even working as the sole breadwinner during the Great Depression.|
(World War II)
|The number of women in the workforce increases, including army roles in support services and nursing. This challenged the stereotype of women unable to do “men’s jobs”, and also gave many women financial independence.|
|1940||In Quebec, white women win the right to vote.
Huguette Plamondon is elected president of the Montreal labour Council in 1955 and becomes the first woman to lead a major Canadian labour organization.
|Chinese, Japanese and Black women are legally allowed to vote in federal elections.|
|1951||The International Labour Organization (ILO) passes Convention 100, calling for “equal pay for equal work.”
Many provinces as well as the federal government pass equal pay legislation.
Aboriginal women are legally allowed to vote, but only if they are willing to give up their native status.
|1952||Restrictions are removed on married women working in the federal public services. Previously, female public service employees were fired after getting married.|
|1956||The Female Employees Equal Pay Act is passed, which made wage discrimination based on sex against the law.|
|Birth of the Women’s Liberation Movement
Women demanded equal wages and job opportunities as well as the elimination of sexual harassment.
|1960||Aboriginal people, including women, gain the right to vote in federal elections.|
|1970||39.9% of women aged 15 years and older are part of the labour force, but the annual earnings of women working full-time is only 59% of those of men.
Women’s shelters are formed.
|1971||Quebec allows female jurors after eight Quebec women are jailed for protesting the all-male jury law.|
|1972||Rosemary Brown becomes the first black woman to be elected to political office in Canada, as part of BC’s NDP Member of Legislative Assembly.|
|1974||The RCMP hires its first female.
Jeanne-Mathilde Sauve is the first female Speaker of the House of Commons.
|1982||Canadian Constitution Act declares Aboriginal and Treaty Rights to be guaranteed equally to men and women.
Violence against women becomes a national issue after Margaret Mitchell, an NDP MP for Vancouver East, is laughed at when she brings up the issue in the House of Commons. This begins an outcry from women.
|1983||Rape laws are broadened to sexual assault laws, making it a criminal offense for a man to rape his wife.
In Ontario, police are directed to lay charges in domestic violence cases.
The Canadian Human Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment in workplaces.
|1988||Pay equity complaints are filed by individual Bell Canada employees.
Bertha Wilson becomes the first female Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.
|1989||December, 6th, 14 female engineering students are massacred at the Ecole. Polytechnique de Montreal, by a man who believed he was killing feminists. The day is now marked by the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.|
|1990’s||52% of women aged 15 years and older are part of the labour force.|
|1993||Kim Campbell becomes the first female Prime Minister of Canada.|
|2000||Almost 59% of women aged 15 years and older are part of the labour force.|
|2005||Michaelle Jean becomes Canada’s first Afro-Caribbean Governor General.
Canada is the fourth Country to legalize same-sex marriage.
|2006||Bev Busson is appointed as the first female Commander of the RCMP.|
|2007||For the first time, the Québec cabinet is comprised of an equal number of men and women.
Sheila Watt-Cloutier, a longtime Inuit leader, activist and environmentalist, is nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Price.
|2009||Andrea Howarth becomes the first-ever female leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
For the first time ever, there are more women than men in the labour market.
|2013||Kathleen Wynne becomes the first female Premier of Ontario.|
|2015||Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces that 15 of the 30 cabinet members are women, and they are also of diverse backgrounds.|
|2016||Manitoba passes legislation to give victims of domestic violence paid and unpaid leave.|