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Together, they are known as the Famous 5—the women who struggled to have women declared "persons" so they could be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Individually, each was a prominent women's leader in her own right. On the following pages, we will meet Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung. We will learn about their private lives, as well as their public involvements and achievements. We will also learn about the major causes of the day, and why they were important.

Female Suffrage was achieved in Canada during the lifetime of these women. Each of them worked to gain women the right to vote, and their efforts were instrumental in changing public perception about women's roles and rights. We will examine the arguments for and against allowing women to vote. We will also look at the groups involved in promoting female suffrage, and how, when and why women were granted the right to vote—and what happened next.

The ‘Persons’ Case was another landmark victory for women, and it is the achievement for which we commemorate the Famous 5. We will examine the cause for which these women fought, and trace its progress through the early disappointment to the final victory, to the reactions and effects that resulted.

Although achieving female suffrage and winning the 'Persons' Case were highlights of the period, other issues and causes were important to women in Canada during the first half of the 20th century. It is important to also examine the role of Prohibition and the Temperance movement, the agitation for equal pay for equal work, the laws surrounding women’s property rights, as well as other major causes in the development of the young Dominion of Canada.

To obtain further information on other causes the Famous 5 were involved in, follow these links:

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