In the first election in which women were allowed
to vote and run for office, two women were elected,
fulfilling women's long-cherished dream of having a
On June 7, 1917, Alberta's Louise McKinney and Roberta MacAdams
became the first women elected to a provincial legislature.
As Louise McKinney was sworn in first, she
has the distinction of being the first female legislator
elected in the British Empire.
Four years later, in 1921, Irene Parlby was appointed
Minister without Portfolio in the United Farmer's
government, thus becoming the first woman in Alberta (and the
second woman in the British Empire) to serve as a cabinet
minister. Around the same time, Nellie McClung was also elected to the Alberta
Legislature, as a Liberal member. As members of different,
and sometimes opposing parties, these women had the
opportunity to meet in their province's political
That same year, Agnes Macphail of Ontario became the
first woman elected to the House of Commons.
Not until after the success of the Persons' Case did a
woman make it into the highest chamber of Canada's House of
Commons. In 1930, the honourable Cairine Wilson of Ontario
became the first female senator in Canada—to the
disappointment of many Albertans who had hoped to see Emily