The Suffragettes

Monument: The Famous Five 
Location: Manitoba Legislature (west grounds) 
Unveiled: June 18, 2010 
Artist: Helen Granger Young




Nellie McClung lived in Manitoba for nearly 35 years and began her campaign to get Manitoba women the vote in 1912. In 1916 Manitoba became the first province to grant women this right.
The 'Famous Five', McClung along with Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby, made their mark a decade later when they asked the Supreme Court to define what "persons" were under the BNA Act. The definition to that point meant 'males' which kept women from voting or holding public office. In the end, they won their appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and on October 18, 1929 the definition of persons was changed to include both men and women.


In 2003 the Nellie McClung Foundation was created through a private member's bill to educate the public about the work of the Famous Five and women's issues in general. The starting off point was the creation of a public monument.
This is not the first statue to the Five. There is one in Calgary's Olympic Park and another on Parliament Hill, the latter is the only one on the grounds not dedicated to a federally elected representative.
"Never retract, never explain, never apologize - get things done and let them howl."
Nellie McClung (1873-1951)

Thirteen more great Canadian women.............

CFUW Trailblazers: 

Women Who Knew How to Roar

Prepared by Tara Fischer, Advocacy Coordinator

To mark Women's History Month in Canada, CFUW is honouring some of the trailblazers that were once members of our organization.

Dr. Ann Augusta Stowe-Gullen (1857 - 1943), one of the first members of the University Women's Club Toronto, is known for being the first woman to graduate from a Canadian medical school (Faculty of Medicine at Victoria University, Toronto) in 1883. Her advocacy work led to the establishment of the Ontario Medical College for Women.

Dr. Alice E. Wilson (1881 - 1964) was one of the first recipients of a CFUW scholarship at the age of 44, which opened the door to a long and distinguished career as the first woman to hold a professional position with the Geological Survey of Canada and to be appointed Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1938.  Recognizing the importance of the CFUW scholarship/fellowship program, Dr. Wilson left a bequest to the organization in 1964, establishing the Dr. Alice E. Wilson Awards. The awards are given to four women annually.

Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw (1881 - 1982) was one of Canada's first female doctors and the medical director of the first (illegal) birth control clinic in Canada despite intense criticism from the medical and religious communities. She served as the clinic's medical director for over 30 years pioneering areas of family medicine that were not widely practiced at the time. Dr. Bagshaw was a member of the University Women's Club of Hamilton.

Helen Alice Kinnear, Q.C. (1894 - 1970), a former member of the University Women's Club of Toronto, was the first federally appointed woman judge in Canada.

Charlotte Elizabeth Whitton, O.C., C.B.E. (1896 - 1975) was a member of the University Women's Club in Ottawa, a feminist, and the first woman mayor of Ottawa (and a major city in Canada), serving from 1951 to 1956 and again from 1960 to 1964.

The Honourable Muriel McQueen Fergusson, P.C. O.C. Q.C. (1899 - 1997), a former member of CFUW Ottawa, was the first woman Speaker of the Senate from1972 to 1974, and the first woman deputy mayor of Ottawa in 1953..

Phyllis Gregory Ross, O.C., C.B.E. (1903 - 1988) was a Canadian economist and the first woman to serve as a Chancellor in the Commonwealth of Nations. She was a member and President of the University Women's Club in Ottawa.

Winona Grace MacInnis, O.C., O.B.C.  (1905 - 1991), a former member of University Women's Clubs of Ottawa and Vancouver, was the first woman from British Columbia to be elected to the House of Commons.

Helen Battles Sawyer Hogg, C.C. (1905 - 1993),a former member of the University Women's Club of Toronto,was an astronomer, the first female president of several astronomical organizations, and the first woman to be appointed to the physical sciences division of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr. Jessie Gray (1910 - 1978) was known as Canada's "first lady of surgery", and one of the four leading cancer surgeons in North America at the time. She was a member of the University Women's Club of Toronto, and earned a formidable succession of firsts: first woman gold medalist in medicine at U of T (1934); first woman to obtain the master of surgery degree (1939); first woman resident surgeon at the Toronto General Hospital; first woman fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (Canada, 1941); first woman member of the Central Surgical Society of North America; and first woman elected to the Science Council of Canada (1966).

The Hon. Pauline Mills McGibbon, C.C., O. Ont, (1910 - 2001) was a member of the University Women's Club of Toronto, and served as the 22nd Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1974 to 1980. In addition to being the first woman to occupy this position, she was the first woman to serve as a viceregal representative.

Blanche Margaret Meagher, O.C. (1911 - 1999) was a Canadian diplomat and in 1958 was appointed as Canada's first woman ambassador. She was a member of the University Women's Club of Halifax and served as Ambassador to Israel, Austria and Sweden.

Marie-Claire Kirkland-Casgrain, C.M., C.Q. is a Quebec lawyer, judge, politician and former member of CFUW Montreal. She was the first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of Quebec, the first woman appointed a Cabinet minister in Quebec, the first woman appointed acting premier, and the first woman judge to serve in the Quebec Provincial Court.