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The Famous Five: Heroes for Today
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Female Suffrage

The Persons Case

Other Causes

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Together, they are the Famous 5—known best as the group who struggled to have women recognized as "persons" by law. Aside from their collective work, each was a prominent leader in her own right. The following pages will introduce Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung and allow one to explore their private lives as well as the significance of their public involvements and achievements.

Female suffrage was achieved in Canada as a direct result of the efforts of community-builders such as the Famous 5. At a time where women were not accorded fundamental rights, each of these remarkable women worked to gain rights for women, their efforts instrumental in changing public perception. This section will look at the historical debate surrounding giving women the right to vote, the groups involved in promoting female suffrage, as well as an account of how the right was eventually granted.

The Person's case was another landmark victory for women, and is the most well-known achievement of the Famous 5. This section will examine the cause for which these women fought, trace its progress through the early disappointment, the final victory, and the reactions and effects that resulted.

Although achieving female suffrage and winning the 'Persons' Case were highlights in Canada during the first half of the 20th century, other issues and causes were of extreme concern to women. An exploration of the role of Prohibition and the Temperance Movement, the work to achieve equal pay for equal work and the laws surrounding women's property rights will reveal a more complete picture of the role of women in Canada during its younger years.

Video: The Vote
This one-minute vignette shows the beginnings of the women's suffrage movement in Canada, culminating with women receiving the vote.
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