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Four women who helped make Canada a better place

We took a look at some amazing Canadian women throughout history to help us remember where we came from and to remind us of the power we all have to make a difference.

Nellie McClung

McClung worked all her life as an activist, author and politician. She was a member of the "Famous Five"⁠—a group of Canadian women who convinced the courts to finally recognize women as persons under the law in 1929. She was instrumental in making Manitoba the first Canadian province to give women the right to vote in 1916, sparking the movement for all other provinces to follow.

Thérèse Casgrain

Thérèse Casgrain was a Canadian activist, radio host and political leader. Though she was brought up in a wealthy and privileged home, she felt that everyone should have the same rights and opportunities no matter their background. In 1921 she helped to found the Provincial Franchise Committee for Women's Suffrage to campaign for equal rights for women, and was the host of Fémina a show for Radio Canada, that talked about women's rights, social responsibility and cultural life. In 1951 Thèrèse became the first female leader of a political party in Canada.

Viola Desmond

You may recognize this name as Viola Desmond was recently added to the Canadian $10 bill. She is known for challenging segregation practices in Nova Scotia when she refused to move to the section of the movie theatre that was unofficially set aside for black patrons. Her actions inspired change and in 1954, segregation was legally ended in Nova Scotia.

Marie Lacoste Gérin-Lajoie

Marie was a feminist, social reformer, lecturer, educator, and author. As a girl, she educated herself in her father's library because at the time, Quebec's francophone universities were closed to women. This lead her to help establish a girls' school in 1908 that would allow young women to pursue higher education. Marie was also a driving force behind a francophone women's organization that championed education, equity under the law, women's right to vote, and other social causes.