Ten-year-old Julie is speaking with her mother and her grandmother.

When I grow up, I’m going to go to university to become a doctor!

That sounds like a great plan says her grandmother. You’re lucky to have the chance to do this. When I was your age, in the 1930s, things were very different. Most women didn’t go to work and few went to university. Their job was to stay home and raise the children. Legally, their husband was the one with all the power in the family. Women were considered as minors.  They didn’t even have the right to vote.

How did women get the right to vote?

They formed groups that demanded the right for women to vote and equality between men and women. Many important women like Saint-Jean and Thérèse Casgrain were very active in these groups. Women won the right to vote in federal elections in 1917, but they had to wait until 1940 to be able to vote in provincial elections. Just like me, many women worked in factories during World War II. Because we did such a good job, people realized that we could play a greater role in the economy and society in general.

See video in French at http://primaire.recitus.qc.ca/sujets/13/groupes-sociaux/3974

An you, Mom, what was it like when you were young?

When I was 20 years old in 1965, the feminist movement was very active. In universities, in the workplace and a lot of other places, women were fighting for equality. They wanted to have better representation in political institutions. Also, they were fighting for the right to abortion and started using birth control pills. A lot has changed since then, but there’s still work to do. In 1980, women’s rights are protected by the Charter of Rights and Liberties. Women are free to pursue careers in fields such as medicine, politics and business, and they are recognized as persons in their own right, but their salaries are still lower than men’s. It’s up to you now to continue to working for the total equality of women.

Women1980timeline

See Timeline in French at: http://www.lignedutemps.qc.ca/t35737/lecture

Author:  Alexandre Lanoix

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