Persons' Day

October 18

October 18 marks the day in 1929 when the case of Edwards v. Canada (Attorney General) was decided that women were eligible to sit in the Senate of Canada and established women as persons under the law in Canada. Under the British North America Act, which created the Dominion of Canada, women were not included in the definition of the word 'person'. The 'Famous Five' (Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, and Henrietta Muir Edwards) challenged this definition all the way to the Judical Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain in London, with the case being found in their favour and women being recognized as persons under the law in Canada.

While the case did not extend these rights to all women, notably Indigenous women and women of Asian heritage and descent were still excluded, it was a first step in expanding the legal status and standing of women in Canada and the extending of gender equality.

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