Monday, 18 October 2010

Persons Day

In genealogy we're often reminded that half of our ancestors are women. Women pull more than their weight in family history circles. For instance, 60% of the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa members are women (or were when I last compiled figures several years ago), and seven of 10 members of its current Board members.

Cheap shots by some, like former Ottawa mayor Charlotte Whitton's "Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult," are unfortunate as they tend to demean the contribution of that other half of our ancestors. The world would be an empty place without either.

Today, October 18 is 'Persons Day' in Canada. It commemorates the legal ruling in the 'Famous Five,' case where a group of women progressives from Alberta where successful in having the constitutional term 'persons' recognized as applying equally to man and women.

So what is special about this October 18? A new archival website is launched by the Alberta Women's Memory Project. You'll find much of the advice it contains applicable to all 'persons'.


DWP said...

Concerning in this post "a group of women progressives from Alberta", I note that page A2 of today's Globe and Mail calls them activists. They were hardly progressives unless one considers that support of compulsory sterilization and being against non-white immigration is being progressive. states
"Opinions on the Valiant Five vary considerably. Many laud them as trailblazers for women. Others are disturbed by the opinions of some of the women on other issues, such as non-white immigration and their successful campaigns to have eugenics legislation introduced in Canadian provinces."

DWP said...

To add a bit of Anglo-Celtic connection to this post, I add that the main mover of the "Famous Five" was (Mrs.) Emily Murphy, granddaughter of Ogle R. Gowan, an Orangeman from County Wexford, Ireland. Gowan settled near Brockville in 1829 and soon became the leading Orangeman and Conservative politician in eastern Ontario before moving to Toronto in 1852.
A book "The Orangeman" by Don Akenson is a semi-fictional biography of Ogle Gowan that has information and references about the 1798 Irish rebellion in Wexford.