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Chapter: Canada’s History

Topic: Women get the vote

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Women's Leadership and Vote

Adult white males with properties were only allowed to vote during the Confederation. However, a movement called Women’s Suffrage became instrumental in women finally having their right to vote. In Canada, Dr. Emily Stowe was the pioneer of the movement and had the distinction of being the first woman in Canada to practice medicine. Manitoba in 1916 became the epicenter of women’s voting rights.

A year after, largely due to Dr. Stowe and similar women’s leadership, the government, led by Sir Robert Borden lifted the voting restrictions on federal election platforms. The right was given to nurses who were at war, then to those who were related to soldiers on active duty.

In 1918, the federal election voting rights expanded to female Canadian citizens aged 21 and above. Agnes Macphail rose to power as a woman MP in 1921. She was a farmer and a teacher before she was bestowed the government position. Quebec in 1940 finally allowed women to vote, largely due to the efforts of women like Therese Casgrain and her fellow suffragees.