The most well-known of the quintet of prominent Alberta
women who established the right of women to sit in the
Canadian Senate under the provisions of the British North
America Act, Emily Murphy instigated the fight to have women
declared "persons" 13 years before it was won in 1929.
Although that landmark ruling was the most famous
legislation she championed, it was not Murphy's first effort
to have legislation enacted.
In 1910, she instigated a movement for the enactment of
Dower Law in Alberta. She sought to get married women a
caveat against the property of the woman's husband, so that
each would be entitled to an interest of one-third the
total. This was to protect the wife during her husband's
life. The problems that women faced when they had no
property rights were many and examples of such cropped up in
Nellie McClung's fiction, such as in the case of Mrs. Payne
in the novel Purple Springs. As Police Magistrate, Murphy
encountered real cases of hardship faced by women due to a
lack of property rights in marriage and fought for the
justice she believed in.