Emily Murphy Essay About Her Contributions To The Canadian "Person's Case" In Which Women Fought For Civil Rights And Equality Among Men.

1010 words - 4 pages

Emily Murphy, a suffragist as well as a legal and political reformer, was a very important woman in Canadian history. She fought selflessly for the rights of citizens around her and for the overall rights of all Canadian women. Emily changed the way many Canadians viewed and treated women. Through her persistence and hard work, she passed and changed several laws and acts, wrote many commendable books and articles and had a great knack for organising people.With an education far superior to most girls of her time, Emily Murphy became a very knowledgeable and courageous woman, who greatly affected Canadian women of her time. She was the daughter of three children and married to a parson, Arthur Murphy. Before Emily came along and re-evaluated the Dower Act that was put forth, women were not entitled to any of their husband's estate, even if they had contributed towards it. Emily found this appalling, as she believed that women should be entitled to some of their husband's assets, especially in case of their death. The Dower Act was passed in 1911 and many of the new ideas presented in it were Emily's. She became the first female judge in Canada and held a woman's court that gave women on trial relief from the harsh accusations and disrespect they would receive from men in regular courtrooms. Many times Emily's authority was challenged, male lawyers told her that her rulings were invalid because of the simple fact that she was a woman, and under the BNA Act, women were not persons. She overruled them, and continued with the case. Emily felt the need for women to be respected as persons and with four other female activists, she went to the highest Canadian court, which was in Britain. They asked, "Does the word persons in Section 24 of the British North American Act, 1867, include female persons?"After six weeks, the court ruled that women were not "persons" under the BNA Act. This disappointed the women greatly, but persistence paid off later, when women were considered "persons" on Oct. 18, 1929, and allowed to be appointed to Canadian Senate. It is argued that, "Emily's greatest victory is remembered by a plaque placed in the lobby of the Senate Chamber in Ottawa on June 11, 1936. Stating 'To further the cause of woman kind these five outstanding pioneer women [Henrietta Muir Edwards, Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby] caused steps to be taken resulting in the recognition by the Privy council of women as persons eligible for appointment to the Senate of Canada'." (KAHN, p.91) Women all across Canada felt Emily should be the first women to be appointed into the Senate, but because she was a Conservative they chose another women, a Liberal, by the name of Cairine Wilson. Emily continued to give public speeches and fight for women's rights in spite of her ineligibility for a Senate seat.While travelling through England with her family on her husband's missionary trips, Emily wrote a book called...

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