October 3, 2015

Women around the world have suffered, and continue to suffer, because of their gender. Over the years, the world has struggled to overcome this gender-bias, and although things are much better now than they were before, some women are still not treated fairly. Thus every year, a few developed nations come together to celebrate Women’s History Month in support of women across the world. In Australia, America, and the U.K., Women’s History Month is celebrated in March, coinciding with International Women’s Day. In Canada, women’s history month is celebrated in October. Throughout the course of this month, schools educate children on women’s history and many fundraisers, walks, and events are held in support of women around the world.

Every October since 1982, Canada has celebrated Women’s History Month, leading up to October 18th, which marks Person’s Day. The reason why Canada chooses to celebrate in October instead of March with the rest of the world is because of the historical significance of Person’s Day. “The Persons Case” decision of 1929 marks one of the biggest victories of women against gender-bias to date.

“The Persons Case” was the struggle of five Alberta women against section 24 of the British North America Act, which stated that only “qualified persons” may be summoned to the senate. The act declared that women were not “qualified persons”, and thus were not eligible to run for senate. On October 18th, 1929, the committee ruled that women should be included in section 24 of The British North America Act. One year later, a woman by the name of Cairine Reay Wilson became the first ever to have a place in the senate. This opened up many doors for women, including the right to vote and engage in other tasks that were previously deemed exclusive to men.

Women’s History Month gives people an opportunity to highlight women’s struggles throughout history, and to educate more of the public on gender equality. Women are a significant part of Canada’s heritage, and should be given the proper respect, as well as the recognition, that they deserve.