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"What Business Have Women in Politics?"

Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource.ca and The Famous Five Foundation


Irene Parlby,  "What Business Have Women in Politics?" 1935.

I never realized until my first campaign in 1921 what miserable incompetent creatures women were in the eyes of the public. I ought to have developed a terrible inferiority complex by the time it was over, for practically the only issue that seemed to concern the electorate or the opposition, was that I was a woman and worse an English woman. . . .

Irene Parlby, letter to Violet McNaughton, July 22, 1921.

It has been the dirtiest possible fight, but we won out with about 1,000 majority. . . .

I feel that if I can help to smash this hideous party machine and free people from its yoke it will have been worth it. I feel as if I had been through rivers of mud and could never be clean again, or trust anyone again—

Some who had been pretending most to be our friends we found were traitors—and the venom of the Alix women—you could not believe—they were literally mad with spite! And the whole masonic bunch and the Institute worked like the devil against me, and no lie was too vile to be used. . . .

Reprinted by permission of Women's Press.

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