If You’re A Girl, You Were Not A “Person” In Canada Until 88 Years Ago Today
If you're a girl or woman living in Canada, your life, liberties and access to justice would have been entirely different in 1929 ... or 88 years and 1 day ago. Today marks an incredibly significant day in Canadian history because October 18th is the day when women in Canada became legally recognized "persons", rather than possessions, objects, or things.
That's right, prior to October 18, 1929, women in Canada were not much more important or legally recognized than the land that their husbands' owned.
And to commemorate such a huge milestone in Canadian women's rights movements and the pursuit of gender equality, #PersonsDay and #ClaimYourPlace have been trending on Twitter. Every year on October 18th, the Governor General's Award In Commemoration of the Persons Case is awarded to Canadians who have advanced gender equality to mark the historic Persons Case of 1929.
In case you've forgotten who The Famous Five are your elementary school history lessons (and shame on you if you have), they were the five prominent Canadian women who committed themselves to the women's suffrage movement to earn us girls the right to vote. And today is one of the days they are rightfully celebrated.
As the fight continues across Canada and the world for women's rights and equality, today is a bittersweet reminder of how far we come and how much farther we have to go. The hashtag #ClaimYourPlace represents how women have historically had to fight endlessly to earn recognition, rights, and equality.
But as some Twitter users have noted, not all women received their claims to personhood and the right to vote until after 1929, including Japanese-Canadian and Indigenous women.
The lineage of progress in gender equality has been long, with many crucial milestones along the way. And as things continue to evolve and more groups of people have their struggles recognized and overcome, there will be many more days worth celebrating.
But without this important day that radically changed the status of women in Canada, the truth is most of us reading (or writing) this would have never had the freedoms we have today.
Happy #PersonsDay Canada! And girls, #ClaimYourPlace✊