The Position Of Women In The Canadian Society: Political Rights And Traditional Expectations Referring To The Poems By Tom Wayman And Margaret Atwood.

1201 words - 5 pages

Social class, status, and power are predetermined by one's gender. Within any patriarchal society, men simply possess greater power than women. Patriarchal thought produces male dominance, and authority within multiple areas, including politics. Throughout history, governments have designed laws to maintain such divisions of power, resulting in the oppression of women. Patriarchal power constructs sexual differences as political differences by giving legal form to the belief that women, because of their sex, are fit only to serve as wives and mothers.The main goal of the women's movement was basic citizenship rights for women. For decades, many of the first women's groups strived for their civil and political rights. Their central focus was the right to vote, and the right to run for office. The purpose was to claim a role in democratic politics. Many believed that in order to attain political goals, the right to vote was crucial. The women's movement has touched the lives of many Canadian women, radically transforming the nature of their everyday experiences. Women assumed that once the right to vote was granted, equality in the eyes of males was soon to follow..In Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia, women gained the right to vote at the provincial level in 1917; in Ontario in 1917; in Nova Scotia in 1918; in New Brunswick in 1919; and in Prince Edward Island in 1922. Women in Quebec had to wait until 1940 to be granted the right to vote. Women of Canada achieved the right to vote in federal elections in 1918. However, Canadian women continued to be disqualified from positions within the Senate because they were not considered qualified "persons" as defined by the British North America Act. It was not until 1929 when five women from Alberta disputed the British North America Act, and the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council determined that women were recognized as "persons" within the law. The Person's Case (1929) gave women the right to serve in the Senate.It soon became apparent that legal rights alone would not be enough for women to acquire an impressive influence within politics. Women remained within the second-class boundaries, and unable to alter their status in any way. Women still performed most of the domestic duties; could not find adequate, affordable child care; were under-represented in politics; earned a fraction of the pay men earned; faced spousal abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment; and had no legal access to birth control.In the early decades of the twentieth century, many Canadian households were equipped with the new labour- saving appliances that facilitated housework. Despite this technological assistance, many Canadian women faced with rising standards of cleanliness and the society's aim of "professionalizing" the business of raising a family found themselves engrossed with the time- consuming task of running a household. Such an unalterable social disposition disabled women from...

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