Together, they are known as the Famous Five—the women who struggled to have women declared "persons" so they could be appointed to the Canadian Senate. Individually, each was a prominent women's leader in her own right.
On the following pages, we will meet Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby, and Nellie McClung. We will learn about their private lives, as well as their public involvements and achievements. We will also learn about the major causes of the day, and why they were important.
Female Suffrage was achieved in Canada during the lifetime of these women. Each of them worked to gain women the right to vote, and their efforts were instrumental in changing public perception about women's roles and rights. We will examine the arguments for and against allowing women to vote. We will also look at the groups involved in promoting female suffrage, and how, when and why women were granted the right to vote—and what happened next.
The "Persons" Case was another landmark victory for women, and it is the achievement for which we commemorate the Famous Five. We will examine the cause for which these women fought, and trace its progress through the early disappointment to the final victory, to the reactions and effects that resulted.
Although achieving female suffrage and winning the "Persons" Case were highlights of the period, other issues and causes were important to women in Canada during the first half of the 20th century. It is important to also examine the role of Prohibition and the Temperance Movement, the agitation for equal pay for equal work, the laws surrounding women’s property rights, as well as other major causes in the development of the young Dominion of Canada.
THE "TEACUP" EDUCATIONAL VIDEO
This entertaining three-minute video was developed to introduce school-age children to the story of the Famous Five women, and can be used in classroom settings to kick off lessons or stimulate discussion.
BINAURAL AUDIO EXPERIENCE
This is a six minute 3D audio experience that works best with headphones. Students will get to listen to one of the most important conversations ever to happen in Canada.
THEIR STORY TOLD IN SONG
The Spirit of the Famous Five asks us to be inspired by the courage of The Famous Five and encourages us to look around our world today and take action when we can.
The Ballad of the Famous Five tells the story of the struggle to win the Person’s Case on October 18, 1929.