WINNIPEG – A century later and Manitobans are still inspired by women, like Nellie McClung, who stood up for their right to vote.
“She’s inspired me to take up the cause of people that cannot speak for themselves,” Nellie McClung’s relative Joyce Tully said. “I have followed in her path and spent a wonderful career teaching… we’ve had kids act out the mock parliament.”
A memorable mock parliament in 1914 reversed gender roles to put the women’s suffrage in perspective.
“I think there was a way in which women took up the discussion here and the mock parliament that was an excellent example of how you can take a public conversation in a different direction,” University of Manitoba women’s studies professor Janice Dodd said.
On January 28 1916, Manitoba was the first province to grant women the right to vote.
“There wasn’t much to be changed in the existing act it really just needed to cross out of the male sex and to say a person in this case means married or unmarried female or male,” Kathleen Epp, the senior archivist at Manitoba Archives said.
“One of the things that we do have to remember, it wasn’t all women who got the vote at that time,” Dodd said. “We waited until 1960 for women in the indigenous community to have access to the vote.”
And as we reflect on the past 100 years women in parliament admit the pursuit of equality is far from over.
“The issue around indigenous missing and murdered women and girls, the representation of women around board tables… so there is lots of work that we need to do to,” Manitoba’s Minister of Family Services Kerri Irvin-Ross said.