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In the past women were considered to be second hand citizens and prior to World War One women had little to no rights. But ever since then womens rights have vastly expanded as a result of women such as Nellie Mcclung who fought hard for women’s rights and freedom. During both of the World Wars, women proved that they could do the same work that men can do. Today women have the same rights as men and are rightfully considered equal to men. This was a very hard and long journey for women but after years of fighting they finally won.
Many people believe that the start of women’s rights had a lot to do with women working on the homefront during World War One, 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 worked in ammunition and weapon factories. If this had never happened, women’s rights might have never came as far as they are today. World War One was the first major expansion of women’s rights. Before the war women had little to no rights, they were expected to stay at home and take care of the house and children.
On January 28, a few months before the war started, 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 to point out the unfairness of denying women the right to vote. This opened the eyes of many people and got everyone thinking about the topic. When the war first started nothing changed for women, but when there was a shortage of factory workers the only people left capable of fulfilling these jobs were women. This is when people started to look at women differently and realize that women can do anything that men can do.
Halfway through the first world war on January 28, 1916, women in Manitoba are the first in Canada to gain the right to vote and run for office in Provincial Elections when the Manitoba Legislative Assembly passes an act to amend the Manitoba Election Act. This was the first major act passed 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 gain the right to vote. This is 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 gain the right to vote in federal elections through An Act to Confer Electoral Franchise Upon Women. To be eligible women must be age 21 or older, born in Canada, and meet property requirements in provinces where they live. These events show that the women’s rights movement in Canada was brought to attention during the first world war in 1914.
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