|The Changing Face of Canada|
|Through the Eyes of Canadian Women|
| "The Canadian women are better educated than the men, who take care of their horses and attend little to anything else, leaving the management of their affairs to the women." Mrs. Simcoe, The Diary of Mrs. John Graves Simcoe, from the entry for June 9, 1792.
'Women are not persons in matters of rights and privileges.' British North America Act, 1867.
"I am a believer in women, in their ability to do things and in their influence and power. Women set the standards for the world, and it is for us, women in Canada, to set the standards high." Nellie McClung (1873-1951)
"The purpose of a woman's life is...to make the best possible contribution to the generation in which she is living."
Louise McKinney- 1868-1931
"It is good to live in these first days when the foundations of things are being laid, to be able, now and then, to place a stone or carry the mortar to set it good and true."
Emily Murphy - 1868-1933. - feminist, social activist
|My Aunts: Mamie, Susan, Maggie, Rose and Ruth c1910|
|This portion of the site is dedicated to Canadian Women throughout our vast history; from their roles as wife, mother and daughter; to the contributions they made in bringing this country from a vast wilderness to an industrialized nation.
When the first Europeans arrived in Canada more than four centuries ago, they found that while Canadian women did most of the work , they also held a great deal of the power, and knew their worth within the family and community. They engineered marriages with the newcomers to cement trade relations and bolster their military presence, and as such were often the ones who needed to be won over.
In most cases, the line of descent ran through the mother, and children belonged to their mother's clan. When French women began to arrive to settle amoung them, this concept was not completely alien. While they didn't enjoy quite as prominent a position as their Canadian counterparts, they were not totally subservient either. French women always kept their maiden names; could inherit titles and pass them to their own children, and if those titles were higher than their husband's; the children would often adopt her last name.
In Canada, if you were the daughter of a chief, your marriage was usually arranged and often to an enemy as part of a peace treaty. But for most, they decided who to marry, though their choice still had to be approved by their father or 'procurer'. French women did not have that luxury, since for them their marriages were usually arranged, and they often had no say in the matter.
Future immigrants from other areas of the globe, would often take their lead from those whose positions was already well established, and as the cultures merged, a unique Canadian woman was born. This was partly from necessity, because carving a life out of the backwoods of Canada, left little time for vanities.
Then, as the Anglo culture began to infiltrate the population, women's roles were diminished; at least in importance. Again, this was not a luxury the Canadian farm wife could enjoy, but the ladies of the towns buttoned up, bustled down, and hid behind their fans and hankies. They had little choice but to obey men, because in most cases men held all the resources and women had no independent means of support.
Most women had little choice but to marry and upon doing so everything she owned, inherited and earned automatically belonged to her husband. This was also true of any offspring, so that even if a woman tried to leave a marriage she had no rights to her children, so rarely did.
And yet we still managed to do some amazing things and though a long time coming, we have finally arrived. We just need to remove men like Stephen Harper from our government, who would love nothing better than to return to the days when they could say: Women are not persons in matters of rights and privileges.' British North America Act, 1867.
|The Best Thing Beneath the Skies - To Be a Woman|
|Hats Off to the Heroines - Brave Women in Canadian History|
|The Ladies of the Backwoods - The Canadian Farm Wife|
|Home Sweet Log Cabin - Domestic Life in Canada|
|Writing the Wrongs and Educating the Throngs - Influential Female Writers of the Day|
|The Role of Native Women in Canadian History|
|Some Canadian Women From the History Books|
|Some Canadian Women You Probably Never Heard Of|
|Uniquely Canadian Site Map|
|Victorian Canada Home Page|