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The Famous Five: Heroes for Today
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Legal vs. Social Equality

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

Promoting Awareness, Self-Worth, Public Participation

Status of Women, Citizenship

Legal vs. Social Equality

Reading: "It is Up to Us!"


Sex prejudice and the male superiority complex, built up since time began, will not go out in one generation. And we, who have emerged from the shadows of the past, and Nellie McClungare set free from many of its illusions, but are not yet received as members in full standing of the human family, chafe under some of its restrictions that are still laid upon us.

óNellie McClung, 1929

As we have seen, women's right to vote and hold political office did not ensure that women and their interests would be equally represented in politics. Nor did legislation outlawing discrimination on the basis of gender make women socially equal to their husbands or male coworkers. Upon learning that women could be appointed to the Senate, Nellie McClung remarked "Now that we are persons, I wonder if we will notice any difference." In every instance that women gained new political and economic rights, people wondered the same thing.

In truth, women's social status has improved over the years since the Famous 5 were publicly active. More women work outside of the home than ever and share household responsibilities with their husbands. While women participate actively in politics at all levels, there are still certain positions that men are more likely to perform than women and vice-versa. Gender-based discrimination and abuse still occur, despite laws protecting women from these actions. Overall, society condemns these actions and accepts women into formerly male-dominated roles. This is the main reason why women today enjoy almost full social equality with men. Laws giving both sexes the same rights just made this possible.

Video: Images of Women
Jane Patrick is a pilot and paramedic. She and many other women have proven that they can perform their jobs as well as men. Watch Now
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