Monique Bégin on patriarchy and women’s equality, November 2017

Monique Bégin received a lifetime parliamentary achievement award. Her acceptance remarks were about patriarchy and women's equality
Former Liberal cabinet minister Monique Bégin, circa 1970s

Maclean’s magazine hosted its annual Parliamentarians of the Year Award in Ottawa early in November 2017. The magazine presented a lifetime achievement award to Monique Bégin, who served as an influential cabinet minister in Pierre Trudeau’s governments, most notably as the minister of health and welfare. After leaving politics in 1984, Bégin pursued an academic career, including 11 years at the University of Ottawa. In her acceptance speech, she talked about male power and women’s equality in the context of numerous allegations about sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment and news industries and in politics. A significant portion of Bégin’s remarks follow here.  The full text of her address is available on the Maclean’s site.

“I want the roots of patriarchy to be addressed” Continue reading Monique Bégin on patriarchy and women’s equality, November 2017

Agnes Macphail on women’s equality, 1925, 1930

Agnes Macphail, Canada's first female MP, was a champion of women's equality
Agnes Macphail MP, champion of women’s equality

Agnes Macphail was the first woman elected to Canada’s House of Commons, and after taking her seat early in 1922 she encountered many taunts and inappropriate treatment. Undaunted, she demanded the full equality of women. These are brief excerpts from speeches Macphail made in the House of Commons regarding existing divorce laws.

“I want for myself what I want for other women — absolute equality.”

Continue reading Agnes Macphail on women’s equality, 1925, 1930

Lady Aberdeen on the role of women, November 1894

 

Lady Aberdeen championed the role of women in Canada in the late 1800s
Lady Aberdeen championed the role of women

Lady Ishbel Aberdeen was a force of nature and just happened to be the wife of Canada’s governor-general. She pushed the envelope on the role of women in Canadian society. Here she spoke to the founding meeting of the Local Council of Women in Victoria in 1894.

“A golden link uniting women in bonds of sisterhood” Continue reading Lady Aberdeen on the role of women, November 1894

Nellie McClung on women and the vote, January 1914

Nellie McClung. Library and Archives Canada photo.
Nellie McClung agitated for women’s right to vote in Manitoba.

Activist Nellie McClung was prominent among those advocating for women to get the vote in Manitoba. When she and others met with Premier Rodmond Roblin in 1914, he flatly refused their request. The following evening that meeting was turned into a piece of guerrilla theatre. McClung played the premier’s role and mimicked his inflated rhetoric in a mock speech which she made to a fictitious group of men appearing before women legislators asking for the right to vote.

“Man was made for something higher than voting” Continue reading Nellie McClung on women and the vote, January 1914