100 years ago today: Manitoba women win the right to vote!

News Release

Minister Hajdu speaks to Canadians about the future of gender equality

January 28, 2016 – OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Status of Women Canada

100 years ago today, women in Manitoba became the first in Canada to be granted the right to vote. Canadians gathered today in Ottawa to mark this important anniversary at an event hosted by Library and Archives Canada.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women, along with Caroline Andrew, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa, and Stéphanie Gaudet, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Citizenship and Minorities, University of Ottawa, took part in a panel discussion on the impact of the women’s suffrage movement and the challenges still facing women today. They were joined by students from the University of Ottawa, as well as representatives from local women’s organizations.

Minister Hajdu took the opportunity to highlight Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day 2016, which will take place on March 8th. The theme – Women’s Empowerment Leads to Equality – recognizes the importance of empowering women and girls as we work to achieve gender equality.

To celebrate International Women’s Day and show the many faces of empowerment, the Government of Canada is asking the public to use social media to tag a woman who inspires them with the hashtag #YouAreEmpowerment. Canadians will be able to visit women.gc.ca for shareable graphics and other tools to recognize the empowered women in their lives, as well as a list of resources to help women empower themselves.

Quick Facts

  • January 28, 2016, marks the 100th anniversary of Manitoba granting women the right to vote — the first Canadian province to do so.
  • Each year, March 8th – and the week in which it falls – provides an opportunity to take stock of our progress towards gender equality and to honour the contributions women have made and are making — both in Canada and around the world.
  • In 2016, Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day is Women’s Empowerment Leads to Equality. The Government of Canada is asking Canadians to show us what empowerment means by tagging an inspiring woman on social media with the #YouAreEmpowerment hashtag.


“When women in Manitoba gained the right to vote 100 years ago, it was a critical moment in Canadian history and on the journey to gender equality. As we celebrate this milestone, we recognize that there is still more to do to eliminate the barriers that prevent women from contributing fully to society. We are all stronger when women and girls are empowered to succeed.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Status of Women

“I'm proud to be from Manitoba, where we're celebrating this important milestone: 100 years of women's right to vote. Since that time, our country has become much more inclusive and supportive of women's full participation in the workforce, but there is more to be done. Continuing our country’s progress on equality and inclusion is a priority for me and for our government. Reflecting the rich diversity of our society in our federal workplaces is essential to growing our country’s economy and strengthening the middle class.”

The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk
Minister of Employment Workforce Development and Labour

“One hundred years ago today, Manitoba women won the right to vote. This anniversary reminds us not only of the progress made to date, but also of the work remaining to be done in the field of women’s rights. LAC is very proud of its partnership with the University of Ottawa and Status of Women Canada in this event that commemorates the victories of the past and looks hopefully to the future.”

Dr. Guy Berthiaume,
Librarian and Archivist of Canada

“We are part of one of the greatest social transformations of the 21th Century and we need now to strategize on how to once more move forward with passion and intelligence.”

Caroline Andrew
Professor Emeritus and Director of the Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa

“Fifty years after the birth of the Canadian confederation, Manitoba women won the right to vote. One hundred and fifty years after confederation, the people of Canada won a gender-balanced government. Let’s rejoice. And let us now think of ways to raise public awareness of the difficulties faced by Canadian women from different social strata in becoming socially engaged and advancing into positions of leadership.”

Stéphanie Gaudet
Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Citizenship and Minorities, University of Ottawa

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Additional Links

  • Information about Library and Archives Canada at bac-lac.gc.ca
  • Information about Status of Women Canada at women.gc.ca


Nanci-Jean Waugh
Director General, Communications and Public Affairs
Status of Women Canada
Tel: 819-420-6810

Follow us on Twitter: @Women_Canada

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Hon. Patricia A. Hajdu Status of Women Canada Persons

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