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Persons Day honours women’s successes

Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women, issued the following statement on the 88th anniversary of the Persons Case decision:

“On this day in 1929, five strong Alberta women won their petition to the British Privy Council to consider women as “persons” under the law. They dared to see women as equal, and their victory broke down gender barriers, giving some women the legal right to run for public office, attend university or become judges or senators.

“It was not a complete victory, and took decades more for Indigenous and immigrant women to get the same rights.

Despite this progress, deeply rooted gender bias still keeps qualified women out of leadership positions, undervalue their abilities, pay them less and violate their safety.

“Since taking office in 2015, we have continued the legacy of the Famous Five by putting women at the heart of every decision we make. For the first time in Alberta’s history, we have a gender-balanced cabinet, and nearly half of the members of Alberta’s agencies, boards and commissions are women. We have opened nearly 1,300 quality, $25-per-day child care spaces to help more women participate fully in the workforce. And we encouraged women to run for municipal office, resulting in more women being elected on councils and school boards across Alberta.

“That’s the kind of change that happens when a diverse group of people make decisions: we remove barriers and advance women’s equality.

“Today and throughout Women’s History Month, we celebrate Alberta’s trailblazing women by sharing the stories of their extraordinary contributions, from the British Empire’s first municipal councillor to internationally renowned artists to Indigenous leaders.”

Advancing gender equality

The legacy of suffragettes, the Famous Five and other women’s activists of the last century continues today through actions the Government of Alberta is taking to reach gender equality:

Persons Case Scholarship

  • Each year, the Government of Alberta provides $100,000 to students who identify as women and are enrolled full time in a field of study in which their gender is under-represented or disadvantaged, or are contributing to one of the government’s priorities to increase women’s economic security, women’s participation in leadership and democratic positions or safety for women and girls. Deadline to apply is Oct. 31, 2017.

Ready For Her

  • In October 2016, government launched the #ReadyForHer campaign to encourage more women to run in the 2017 municipal elections — and the results are in. The number of women who ran for council positions increased by nearly four per cent, with an increase of 122 per cent in Calgary alone.

Alberta Boards

  • The province launched its online recruitment website one year ago to make it easier for Albertans to apply for governance positions on provincial agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs). This new recruitment process has led to more women being appointed to ABCs. In March 2015, only 32 per cent of board members were women. Today, that number is nearly 48 per cent.

Community grants

  • This past year, Status of Women provided grants totalling $1.5 million to 33 innovative, community-based projects doing valuable work for women. Successful projects work to end violence against women and girls, help women get good jobs and increase the number of women in leadership roles.

Early Learning and Child Care Centres

  • Centres across Alberta will offer almost 1,300 quality child care spaces to address affordability, diverse needs of children and flexible hours for parents, making it easier for more moms to enter or stay in the workforce. 

Follow Status of Women’s Twitter and Instagram accounts through October, Women’s History Month, for inspiring stories of trailblazing Alberta women.


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