Statement by Minister Monsef on the occasion of Persons Day


October 18, 2018 

Whitehorse, Yukon – The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, today issued the following statement:

“On Persons Day, we celebrate an important milestone in the struggle for women’s participation in Canadian political life. On this day, which takes place during Women’s History Month, we honour the Famous Five – Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Nellie McClung and Irene Parlby, courageous Canadian women who won a hard-fought battle for gender equality and those who continue this work today. 

“They lived in a time when women in Canada were not considered “persons” under the law and, as such, were barred from being appointed to the Senate. The Famous Five did not accept this injustice and after years of efforts, in 1929, they succeeded in having the law overturned. 

“These women are remembered for their profound impact on Canadian society, and we are grateful for their contribution to gender equality. Their legacy is reflected today in our first gender-balanced federal Cabinet and in our Senate, where women now represent almost half of all seats. 

“There is no doubt that a significant battle for equality was won in 1929, but the fight did not begin, nor did it end, with the Famous Five. This is why I cannot celebrate Persons Day without acknowledging that Asian women and Indigenous peoples, women included, did not get the vote until decades later. And still today, women across Canada face inequalities that prevent their full participation in the economic, social and democratic life of our country. That is why our government remains focused on creating a fairer and more equitable society for all Canadians, and why we continue to make advancing gender equality a key feature of our plan to support the middle class and those working hard to join it. 

“On Persons Day this year, let’s remember the hard-won victories of the past and carry on the legacy of the Famous Five by advancing gender equality in Canada and around the world. I encourage all Canadians to celebrate by recognizing women in their communities who are working to advance gender equality with the hashtag #MakeAnImpact and to learn about women, like the Famous Five, who have made a difference in our country’s history.”


Justine Villeneuve
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Status of Women

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