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Telling Times

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Telling Times - History of the Vote- Women's Right to Vote


Learn how the franchise for women was achieved in this Telling Times documentary.
After Confederation in 1867, all women were excluded from voting: it was the law. Nellie McClung was one of the most important leaders of Canada’s feminism movement. In 1914, she staged a satirical play to a sold-out audience in Winnipeg, where the roles of men and women were reversed. The press loved it and its success consolidated support for the women’s cause. In 1916, Manitoba was the first province to give women the vote. In 1917, military nurses serving abroad were the first Canadian women to vote in a Canadian federal election. Two military laws introduced during the First World War inadvertently benefited women. Both were a transparent effort to increase the number of electors who would vote for Borden’s government. The vote was given to serving military personnel, including military nurses, and female citizens over the age of 21 who were the wife, widow, mother, sister or daughter of someone serving in uniform. On May 24, 1918, the majority of Canadian women were given the right to vote. Immigrants of Asian origin and their descendants, certain religious groups, as well as Inuit and Aboriginal peoples were excluded. It wasn’t until 1960 that all women over the age of 18 were given the vote.


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