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Showing posts from June, 2009

When Women Weren't Persons

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Emily Murphy I feel equal to high and splendid braveries! Emily Murphy, 1918 It’s hard to believe that prior to 1929, women in Canada weren’t considered “persons” under the law. Even worse, women in Canada were also prohibited from owning property. If a woman’s husband died, any property he owned was inherited by the nearest male relative or other male of his choice who would then look after and support the widow. Canadian women were excluded from public office as senators, certain professions and universities. Emily Murphy set out to change all that. Emily Murphy was born in 1868 in Cookstown, a small town in the province of Ontario. Her father, Isaac Ferguson was a wealthy businessman and landowner involved in law and politics. Her grandfather, uncles, and brothers were politicians, judges, or lawyers. Emily’s father raised her as an equal to her brothers and encouraged her to join in their adventures. As prominent members of society, her parents encouraged her to receive