April 21, 2017 11:33 am

Vancouver feminist to be honoured as person of national significance

Helena Rose Gutteridge

City of Vancouver Archives

A prominent 20th century feminist is being honoured in Vancouver this morning.

Parks Canada will be unveiling a plaque commemorating Helena Gutteridge as a national historic person.

Gutteridge was the first woman elected to Vancouver’s city council in 1937. She spent more than half a century giving working-class women a voice, advocating for equal pay, social housing, and voting rights, among other issues.

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She recognized the challenges laundry workers, cannery workers and garment workers like herself faced in trying to join the suffrage movement, noting that working-class women often couldn’t join afternoon teas for suffragettes and likely wouldn’t benefit from voting rights if they were only granted to those who owned property. Through these efforts, and many others, she was instrumental in making a space for wage-earning women within the predominantly middle-class feminist movement.

As an executive member of the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council from 1913 to 1921, she also helped organize unions for women and built bridges between feminist and labour organizations.

The ceremony, which will be attended by Minister responsible for Parks Canada Catherine McKenna, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra Joyce Murray and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, will be held at 11 a.m. at Vancouver City Hall.



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