Irene Parlby, Alberta Labour Annual 5 Sep.
Because the work of the married woman, in caring for her
household, was supposed to be a labor of love, and of no
economic value . . . women were at first content to sell
their work at far below its real value, and thus depress the
wage scale for all workers. Today women have proved
themselves capable of entering many fields of labor, manual
and intellectual, in which men work, and their demand for
equal opportunity, and equal pay for equal work is being
more and more recognised. Until it is fully recognised,
women's work will always have a tendency to hold down the
standard of wages, and displace men . . . Perhaps no group
of women have suffered more from this condition of affairs
than the Farm women. Certainly no group of women has labored
so hard so ungrudgingly and so unselfishly. And yet we know
for a fact that in many instances, not even the produce that
they raise by their own labor, can be sold and claimed as
their own. Can such a humiliating condition be conducive to
a happy married life, or a right environment in which to
bring up children? And it is not so uncommon a condition as
might be supposed. Our law is little or no protection to the
married women; the Dower Act is of little value. The
Community Property Act introduced at the last session was
the embryo from which some satisfactory legislation may
result. Modern conditions must be faced, and the wife must
not be placed in an inferior economic position to the
unmarried woman, because she gives herself to the valuable
and important work of caring for home and family.
Bill No. 54 of 1925: An Act
Establishing Community Property as between Husband and Wife.
. . .
3. All property of the husband (or wife) owned by him (or
her) before marriage and that acquired afterward by gift . .
. shall be his (or her) separate property . . .
5. All other property acquired by either husband or wife,
or both, during the marriage, including the rents and
profits of the separate property of the husband and wife,
shall be community property. . . .
8. The husband shall have the management and control of
the community property with the like absolute power of
disposition, other than testamentary, over community
personal property as he has of his separate estate; but he
shall not sell, convey or encumber the community real estate
unless the wife joins with him in executing the instrument
of conveyance. . . .
—from a bill introduced into the Alberta Legislature in
1925, but never passed into law.