Many women who had participated in the prohibition and suffrage campaigns rose to political prominence. In 1916, Emily Murphy, a leader in the female suffrage campaign in Edmonton, was appointed Judge of the city's new Women's Court. She was the first female to become a magistrate in the British Empire.
Henrietta Muir Edwards, who had encouraged the WCTU to fight for female suffrage, became a respected authority on the legal status of women.
Louise McKinney, president of the Alberta
WCTU, represented the Non-Partisan League in Claresholm in the 1917 provincial election. She became the first of two women to be elected to the Alberta Legislature.
In the next election in 1921, feminist writer Nellie McClung won a seat for the Liberals in Edmonton, and UFWA president Irene Parlby was elected MLA for Lacombe. Parlby was also appointed Minister Without Portfolio, the second female to become a cabinet minister in the British Empire.
These members of the "Famous Five" later
waged a battle with the federal government to have women legally
considered as "persons" under the British North America
(BNA) Act, therefore eligible for appointment to the Senate.
case went all the way to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy
Council in London. In a victory for women across Canada, the Famous Five won their case and officially became "persons"
under Canadian law.
the Famous Five
Foundation's website for more information about the persons case
and these five pioneering women!