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Women's Issues — Condition sociale féminine

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Multiple Perspectives - perspectives multiple

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"'Women,' added he [Matonabbee, Hearne's Chipewyun guide], 'were made for labour; one of them can carry, or haul, as much as two men can do. They also pitch our tents, make and mend our clothing, keep us warm at night; and, in fact, there is no such thing as travelling any considerable distance, or for any length of time, in this country, without their assistance. Women', said he again, 'though they do every thing, are maintained at trifling expense; for as they always stand cook, the very licking of their fingers in scarce times, is sufficient for their subsistence.'"
                                                                                   Samuel Hearne, Oct. 1770

Yankee Notions, October 1852

Woman's Holy War, Currier & Ives, New York, 1874, LC2003656595

Grace Annie Lockhart  graduated from Mount Alison Wesleyan College 1n 1876. She became the first woman to earn a bachelor's degree in the Br. Empire, Canada's History, Dec 2021-Jan. 2022

Emily Stowe, first woman to practice medicine in Canada, The Globe, Toronto, 1870s?, cited in Penni Mitchell, Women's Rights

Harper's Weekly, New York, 5 March 1879

Advertising, New York and London, 1880, Library of Congress LC-DIG-ppmsca-44072

Warner Safe Yeast, Toronto Reference Library 0bs-ephe-daw-bk2-015, 1885

"It is a violation of the Magna Carta that women should be tried by juries of men."
Motto handed out by suffragettes, Winnipeg, 1890s [cited by Sara Carter, Ours By Every Law of Right and Justice Women and the Vote in the Prairie Provinces]


"Everyone is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to two years imprisonment who knowingly without lawful justification or excuse offers to sell, advertise, publishes an advertisement or has for sale or disposal any means or instructions or any medicine, drug or article intended or represented as a means of preventing conception or of causing abortion or miscarriage."
Criminal Code of Canada, 1892

"Girls should be educated to fit them for the sphere of life for which they are destined– that of the homemaker."
                                                                             Adelaide Hoodless, 1897

"Girl Wanted - Klondyke Y.T.", BC Archives C-05044

Puck, New York, 21 Aug 1895

Appeal to Reason, Girard, Kansas, 15 May 1897

1898 LAC National Council of Women Ottawa a028033

Lady of Means,Toronto Reference Library ARTS-PC-300, 1904

Life, New York, 5 June 1905

Postcard, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons, 1905?

The Canadian Courier, Toronto, 1 December 1906

The Masses, New York, November 1911

The Masses, New York, May 1912

The Canadian Courier, Toronto, 11 May 1912

The Masses, New York, February 1913


1.  One little girl, fair as a pearl,
    Worked every day in a laundry
    All that she made, for food she paid,
    So she slept on a park bench so soundly.
    An old procuress spied her there
    And whispered softly in her ear:


2.  Same little girl, no more a pearl,
    Walks all alone by the river,
    Five years have flown, her health is gone,
    She would look at the water and shiver.
    Whene'er she'd stop to rest and sleep
    She'd hear a voice call from the deep:

3.  Girls in this way fall everyday
    And have been falling for ages.
    Who is to blame? You know his name
    He's the boss who pays starvation wages.
    A homeless girl can always hear
    Temptations calling everywhere.

Joe Hill, "The White Slave", Industrial Worker "Little Red Songbook", 6 March 1913.

The Masses, New York, May 1913

The Labor Journal, Everett, Wash., 9 May 1913

The Masses, New York, August 1913

[Vancouver Ladies' hockey team]. 1914, City of Vancouver Archives AM1535-: CVA 99-58

THE INDIAN WOMEN: We whom you pity as drudges reached centuries ago the goal that you are now nearing.
Own the land, the lodge, the children.
Ours is the right of adoption, of life or death;
Ours the right to raise up and depose chiefs;
Ours the right of representation at all councils;
Ours the right to make and abrogate treaties;
Ours the supervision over domestic and foreign policies;
Ours the trusteeship of the tribal property;
Our lives are valued again as high as man's.

Savagery to "civilization", Puck, New York, Joseph Keppler, artist, 16 May 1914, LCCN97505624, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Life, New York, 18 June 1914


Judge, New York, 11 July 1914

"John Tightwad, bachelor, in Saskatchewan . . . promised Jennie Armstrong to endow her with all his worldly good. The fact they consisted of one homestead, a little cold, leaky-roofed shack, a yoke of oxen, and some machinery with chattel mortgages against it, did no dim the splendor of the promise in Jennie's eyes."

"The first year of her married life Jennie Tightwad found that what she had looked upon in the past as hard labor had been luxurious leisure compared with her present employment. She worked early and late, helping John in the fields when her work was done in the house. . . That fall, thru their combined efforts, they cleared off a large part of the debt on the hired machinery. Jennie had saved her husband the salary of a hired man . . . She was not offered any of the crop returns nor was she consulted upon the disposition of them."

"Fifteen years drifted along and at the end of that time John Tightwd owned two sections of land, clear, many head of stock, a splendid barn, a fair sized house and six children. All that Jennie owned of this was her rather dowdy wardrobe. She hadn't even a legal share in the children. When she wanted money she had to beg John to let her have it and there was always a scene and a wrangle."

"Rumors began to reach Jennie of John's attentions to a certain pretty window who had taken up residence in the district. . . John disappeared with the window after having sold his farm, stock, house and furniture . . . He was safely out of reach, and now the law which, during her residence with her husband refused her any claim on the children, suddenly changed its tactics and demanded that she support them, after they were turned off the homestead."

"Dower rights mobilized a wide spectrum of women on the Prairies. Under British common law, a widow had a life interest in one-third of her husband's property held at the time of his death. This meant that he had to obtain here signature, known as a 'bar' of dower, if he wished to sell or mortgage his land during his marriage. . . In Manitoba, dower was abolished in 1885 and in the North-West Territories in 1886 . . . As a result, women who had established homesteads with their husbands were left destitute, along with their offspring, if a husband absconded and then sold or mortgaged the property."
Sara Carter, Ours By Every Law of Right and Justice Women and the Vote in the Prairie Provinces

Life, New York, 24 June 1915

Art Young, Life, New York, 29 July 1915

Women war workers at the Northern Electric Co. Ltd. Factory, Montreal, 1916, LAC PA-024627

New Masses, New York, July 1915

Judge, New York, 5 August 1916

La victoire en chantant :  revue in 20 acts. LAC, Acc. No. 1983-28-4042, Edouard Bernard, 1914-1918

Canadian Courier, Toronto, 7 April 1917

Puck, New York, 5 July 1917

Puck, New York, Aug 8 1917

Sewing class, George Agnew Reid, 1917, Art Gallery of Ontario

Everywoman's World, Toronto, September 1917

Birth Control Review, Cornelia Barns, 1918, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
[The voter is using the broom of “birth control” to sweep away "charity institutions," "prostitution," and "child labor."]

Stenographers! Roy Hull Still, artist, New York, LC2002722567

Everywoman's World, Toronto, September 1918

"And now the war is over and people are anxiously asking, 'Will women go back?' 'Is it reasonable?' queried Nellie McClung. 'After you have used an electric washer, will you go back to the washboard or the two flat stones in the running stream?'"
Candace Savage, 1979, Our Nelle, A Scrapbook Biography of Nellie L. McClung

Russian propaganda poster, 1920. The woman is pointing towards a library, a cafeteria, a workers club, an adult education centre and a day care facility.

Art Young, The Birth Control Review, New York, February 1920

Life, New York, 19 February 1920

Judge, New York, 5 August 1916 Good Morning, New York, 15 May 1920

The Canadian Home Journal, January 1921

Good Morning, New York, 1 July 1920

The Liberator, New York, August 1921

Bathing Beach Cop, Washington, DC, 1922, LC90708909

Gold digger, Judge, New York, Jan.-Mar. 1922

Protective legislation for women - How it works, Nina Allender, artist, Equal Rights, Washington, D.C., Nationa Woman's Party, 15 December 1923, Library of Congress 2020635510

"Few women are enrolled among the makers of Canada. Yet in all save the earliest years they have formed nearly half the population and have done almost half the work. But historians and businessmen tell us little of the part they have played. The woman's stage was set not in the limelight but in the firelight."
                                                              Isabel Skelton, The Backwoodsman, 1924


"To have part of life can never be enough, one must have all. That is what I want for women."
                                                                                                Agnes Macphail


"What women want is not deference but equality. The old fashioned chivalry [flowers] is all hollow. It means nothing except that men think women inferior."
                                                                                               Agnes Macphail


"When I hear men talk about women being the angel of the home I always, mentally at least, shrug my shoulders in doubt. I do not want to be the angel of any home; I want for myself what I want for other women, absolute equality. After that is secured then men and women can take turns being angels."
                                                              Agnes Macphail, H or Cs, 26 February 1925


"Whereas men naturally place business values, economic values first, we women naturally place the emphasis on human values. So I wish to push human values to the forefront of politics."
                                                                                 Agnes Macphail, 7 June 1925


"One lone woman in Parliament
'Twas Agnes Macphail
When the miners were hungry
She never did fail
To fight for the starving
With their empty dinner pail
God give us more women."
Like Agnes Macphail.

               Agnes Macphail papers

The Woman Citizen, New York, March 1927

The Woman Citizen, New York, April 1927

The Woman Citizen, New York, April 1927




"I would certainly hate to see a good woman wanted there [in the Senate]. It is a useless institution and appointment to it would be like being placed on a shelf prior to burial."
                                                                                         Agnes Macphail, 1929

First women's jury [British Columbia]. Stuart Thomson, August 1929, CV AM1535-: CVA 99-1924,




Women Canadian Olympic Team. LAC, PA-053427 21 January 1930

The Woman's World, New York, October 1930

The Woman's Journal, New York, March 1931


"I am a feminist and I want for women the thing men are not willing to give them – absolute equality. We will not get it this year, but will get it next."
                                                       Agnes Macphail, Toronto Mail, 16 January 1931


"Men long ago decided that women's sphere was anything he did not wish to do himself."
                                                                    Nellie McClung, In Times Like These

William Gropper, The Masses, New York, April 1932





"Why has Canada but one woman M.P., but one Senatoress? Why do the churches still refuse to ordain female priests and parsons, the courts to provide female judges only for juveniles? Why during the depression have married women been thrown ruthlessly out of jobs to make way for unemployed men? Why have single women to fight against such severe odds to gain the highest executive positions where only those of the most outstanding ability and endurance can succeed? And why do all women in business consistently receive less recompense than men for doing precisely the same work, for accepting precisely the same responsibilities? On what other grounds than a widespread belief that women are inferior; that, in fact, this is a man's world? "
                     Benge Atlee, Should Women Be Men?, Maclean's Magazine, 15 April 1934


1938 National Federation of Liberal Women of Canada LAC PA-096901


Three Women. Soviet Russia's stirring tribute to women. LAC, Acc. No. R738-90R Sydney Newman and Nathan Petroff 1939


The Sheaf, Saskatoon, 27 March 1941


Yearbook, McGill, 1942

Jacques Gagnier, Le Quartier Latin, Montréal, 16 January 1942



Bibliothèque National du Québec

Manitoba Archives



For more wartime magazines visit:

Mrs. Jack Wright waves goodbye to her two sons Ralph and David left at a day nursery with a nursery worker while Mrs. Wright goes to work at a munitions factory. Mme Jack Wright dit au-revoir de la main à ses deux fils, Ralph et David, qu'elle vient de laisser à la jardinière d'enfants pour aller travailler dans une fabrique de munitions. September 1943, LAC PA-116140



Work to be done, Grant Vernon, artist, United States. War Manpower Commission, 1944, Library of Congress 97515648











War artist Molly Lamb, 1945, LAC PA-113772


"Women have fallen below the standard of citizenship which those who fought for the suffrage set for them. Women in politics have not flopped, because women politicians have on average exceeded their male counterparts, but there have been too few of them. These things take time."
                                                                       Agnes Macphail, 22 November 1946

"Maternity is the ultimate destiny of women and signifies the flowering of her existence."
                                                          La Mère canadienne et son enfant, 1946


"Whatever she does woman must do twice as well as any man to be thought of just half as good . . . luckily it's not difficult."
                                                                   Charlotte Whitten, Mayor of Ottawa


Should Bride Promise to Obey?
Bulk of Voters Say She Should

"Some people feel the word 'obey' should be omitted from the marriage service. Others think the wife should promise to obey. What are your views on this?"
Want "Obey" omitted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31%
Want it retained . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44%
"Both should promise to obey" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6%
Qualified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  2%
Undecided . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17%

                                                                 Men  Women
Should omit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26%    36%
Should not omit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49%    40%
Both should promise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5%      7%
Qualified . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1%     2%
Undecided . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19%    15%

Gallop Poll of Canada, The Montreal Daily Star, 15 November 1947




"A woman is regarded as a second-rate substitute for a man. The dice are loaded for half the population. The men want to hog everything. They want all the gravy, the gravy boat and the silver ladle."
                                                                      Agnes Macphail, 16 September 1949













The Gateway, Edmonton, 25 February 1966



"I can't be a rose in any man's lapel."
                               Margaret Trudeau



"There's no place for the state in the bedroom of the nation."
Pierre E. Trudeau, defending a bill that amended the Criminal Code to legalize birth control, decriminalize abortion under some circumstances and decriminalize homosexual acts, 1969

"There are fifty-six whopping cranes in Canada, and one female parliamentarian."
                                                                  Barbara Frum, Chatelaine, October 1971

Day Care in Question
Varsity, Toronto, 11 March 1970

Varsity, Toronto, 26 March 1970


Women march on Court House - Demonstrations protesting arrest of Dr. Henry Mortgentaler on abortion charge.  John Daggett, LAC PA-164027, 12 June 1970


Royal Commission of the Status of Women 1970 e010858739





Queen's Journal, Kingston, 13 September 1972


McGill Daily, Montreal, 9 February 1973



19 Sept 1974 LAC Acc. No. 1988-243-394



Women’s Day, Women's Liberation Workshop in London, March 1975, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The Manitoban, Winnipeg, 14 October 1975

Wages for Housework, Jacquie Ursula Caldwell, New York, 1976, LC2016648549


McGill Daily, Montreal, 27 January 1977

Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw, Medical Officer of the first birth control clinic in Canada. 14 May 1977, LAC no.3933459


Queen's Journal, Kingston, 29 September 1978

LAC R112674-139 



"Being a career woman is harder than being a career man. You've got to look like a lady, act like a man, and work like a dog."
Margot Kidder, The Toronto Star, 18 August 1979


Common woman's head, 1965-1980, Library of Congress, 201569436



McGill Daily, Montreal, 4 February, 1981


Here's One Small Reason Why You Shouldn't Have an Abortion :  advertisement poster for Right to Life. LAC, Acc. No. 1980-86-5, Fred Bird 1981

The Peak, Burnaby, 2 September 1982


1985 LAC Acc. No. 1985-153-4

The Gateway, Edmonton, 21 November 1985


McGill Daily, Montreal, 7 November 1986

Varsity, Toronto, 10 September 1987

Varsity, Toronto, 5 October 1987

1988 September 29 Inequity

1990 Kim Campbell Barbara Woodley Labatt Breweries LAC PA 186869

"Society has yet to develop a better method to care for the young, protect the weak and attend the elderly."
                                   C Grendolyn Landolt, (REAL Realistic, Equal, Active for Life),
                                                                      The Globe and Mail, 23 April 1987

"My lab partners says she's going to transfer to Concordia, because she can't deal with the teaching assistant any more. Dr. A is always leching after her––invites her to meet him in bars on Crescent St. 'to discus her work', wants her to work late with him in the lab and tells her how her work would improve if she worked much more closely with him. Other people in her department are starting to notice how uncomfortable she looks around him. I think it's unfair that she should have to leave–after all, he's the one who's the problem."
                                                                    McGill Daily, Montreal, 5 January 1989

International Women's Day [Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelter banner]. 1990, CV AM1675-S4-F22-: 2018-020.4453

McGill Daily, Montreal, 20 March 1991



"Abortion is a decision between a woman, her doctor and God."
                                 Ralph Klein, The Globe and Mail, 7 April 1995

The Manitoban, Winnipeg, 12 November 1992

Varsity, Toronto, 9 September 1996

Women's March Against Poverty - Kingston, Ontario – 2000. LAC Canadian Union of Public Employees fonds / ecopy e011202352

Harassment poisons the workplace. Getting rid of it is everyone's concern. 2000-2007, , Le Harcèlement, un poison en milieu de travail: Mettre fin au harcèlement une responsabilite pour tous et toutes. 2000-2007, LAC Canadian Union of Public Employees fonds / ecopy e011202362


Women in National Parliaments (up to date)