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Women Rights In Canada Essay

1285 words - 5 pages

“Honey, you’re not a person, now get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich!” If a husband were to say these words to his wife today, he would likely receive a well-deserved smack to the face. It is not until recently that Canadian women have received their status as people and obtained equal rights as men. Women were excluded from an academic education and received a lesser pay than their male counter parts. With the many hardships women had to face, women were considered the “slave of slaves” (Women’s Rights). In the past century, women have fought for their rights, transitioning women from the point of being a piece of property to “holding twenty-five percent of senior positions in Canada” (More women in top senior positions: Report). The Married Women’s Property Act, World War I, The Person’s Case, and Canadian Human Rights Act have gained Canadian women their rights.

“What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine” (Women’s Rights). This quote may sound ridiculous. However, this quote gave a clear reflection of women’s lives before the 1900’s; women were not considered “people”. Once a woman got married, she lost all their rights! This continued until Ontario passed The Married Women’s Property Act in 1884. The movements for the right of married women grew in momentum as other provinces began passing the Act too. Before the Act was passed when women married, all of her possessions turned over to the husband. The husband could spend all of his wife’s money and leave her, although immoral, he would not be found guilty. Wealthy families tried to put a stop to the chance of their daughter’s wealth being taken advantage of by creating prenuptial contracts. These contracts were signed before the couple got married; it outlined the ownership of property during the marriage and if they divorced. If the wife were widowed, she would need the new husband’s permission to keep the property. However, most women did not come from wealthy families so they did not sign prenuptial contracts. Leaving them helpless until The Married Women’s Property Act was passed. The Act gave married women the same legal rights as white men, women were also allowed to make legal agreements and buy property. The Married Women’s Property Act also lead to the Deserted Wives’ Maintenance Act, which made husbands pay support if they left their wife. Women now had some rights but if they ever wanted major changes, they would need to make an impact on their government. To achieve this, women needed a way to vote in the federal elections. The Great War allowed some women the right to vote for their prime minister—for the change they have been waiting for.

In the early 1900’s a typical women’s life would have been to clean, cook and take care of the kids. This would soon change with the start of The Great War. In the first decade of a new century, the world plunged into a war. The start of World War 1 was a pivotal moment for the rights of Canadian women. Of Canada’s 7,500,000...

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