Canadian women began to organize to secure the right to
vote in federal and provincial elections as early as the 1870s, but it was not
until the turn of the century that the movement really began to gather
force. In western Canada the idea attracted influential supporters like
the Grain Growers' Guide, which argued that as partners "in the
arduous work of making homes on the prairies," farm wives should enjoy
political equality. The United Farmers of Alberta also supported woman
suffrage, as did most prohibitionists.
The movement in Alberta was led by remarkable women,
including Nellie McClung, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, and Emily
Murphy. They argued that this reform was a matter of simple justice.
Finally, on April 19, 1916, Alberta joined Manitoba and Saskatchewan as the
first Canadian provinces to grant women the vote in provincial elections.