December 2, 2008

Nellie McClung and the Women's Vote

FEMINISM/CANADA - What happened to feminism in Canada?

Where did all that feminists go? Why was it nearly a century before women gained access to decent educations?

Why was Nellie McClung, Canada's best-known early feminist, still raging in 1913 about women who "sit at home babbling of indirect influence and womanly charm and never doing anything for the betterment of humanity"? Why was the 20th century well advanced before women in the English-speaking world were admitted to full citizenship and given the vote?

For those that don't know: Nellie McClung was a teacher, an author, a temperance leader, a politician, a lecturer, a suffragette, a hard worker for women's rights and a social activist. She was the wife of R. Wes McClung and mother of five. Canadians remember her for the role she played as part of the "Famous Five" with their petition to the British Parliament seeking clarification of the word "persons" in the British North America Act as it related to the Canadian Senate. On Oct. 18, 1929, the British Parliament decided that women were persons.

But here's the thing... we're now in the 21st century now and women around the world STILL don't have the vote in many places.

Fair elections are rare and female politicians are few and far in between. Kim Campbell in Canada only became prime minister by default when Brian Mulroney decided to step down. And Hillary Clinton? Well, she managed to become US Secretary of State.

But overall there are still quite a few countries where women cannot vote. These are but some examples:

  • Bhutan - One vote per house. Although this applies to both men and women, in practice it currently prevents many more women from voting than men. If the new proposed constitution is voted and ratified, then no restrictions will apply by 2008.

  • Lebanon - Partial suffrage. Proof of elementary education is required for women but not for men. Voting is compulsory for men but optional for women.

  • Brunei - No suffrage for women. Neither men nor women have had the right to vote or to stand for election since 1962 because the country is governed by an absolute monarchy.

  • Saudi Arabia - No suffrage for women. The first local elections ever held in the country occurred in 2005. Women were not given the right to vote or to stand for election.

  • United Arab Emirates - Limited, but will be fully expanded by 2010.

  • Vatican City - No suffrage for women; while most men in the Vatican also lack the vote, all persons with suffrage in Papal conclaves (the Cardinals) are male.

    If you know of other countries where women still cannot vote, please leave a comment.
  • 1 comment:

    1. Hello! I received an invitation to join this blog, but I have found no way to email you. Please email me with more info.

      I'm honoured to get the invite, but I can't decide whether or not to join without communicating with you.

      Thanks! Yours in sisterhood.


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