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Living rights

The Living Rights Project, a web-based living library puts real people into the human rights discussion. 

Celebrating the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

March 21, 2013

Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) joins human rights commissions and agencies across Canada and around the world in celebrating the United Nations (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The day pays tribute to the tragic events of March 21, 1960 in Sharpeville, South Africa when 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed as they protested against apartheid. Canada was one of the first countries to support the UN initiative.

My life as a woman in Canada

By Dr. Barbara Landau

Women in Canada have only recently come close to equal treatment. We were not allowed to vote until WW1 (1914-18) and Quebec only granted women the vote in 1940. Even with the vote, women did not have rights separate from their husbands. Until 1929, women were not considered “persons” under our Constitution for the purpose of serving in the Senate.

I will share a sample of my experiences that hopefully young women today will find unthinkable.

My story as a Jew

By Dr. Barbara Landau

My story as a Jew is NOT unique for people of my age. I am the grandchild of Jewish immigrants. Most of my extended family emigrated to Canada from Eastern Europe (mostly Poland) or Russia before World War 1 and after World War 2. All came to escape persecution and death and find a better life. The majority of my family did not survive the Nazis.

Women’s rights during WW1 in Canada

The years of WW1 saw a great remarkable spread of women’s rights and female suffrage all over the world as well as in Canada. Female suffrage is the right of women to vote. Women at this time were treated differently from men, at least in voting rights. Especially, back then, women were considered to be inferior to men, but after many years of hard work and protest, women finally gained the same equality as men.

Women’s rights before, during, and after WWI in Canada

I believe that all men and women should have the same rights. Most women in Canada were treated badly before WWI but some were finally given rights after it. I will be talking about how different classes of women faced barriers to working and how that improved. I will also be talking about how women’s right to vote came about. Finally I will be talking about how women were supposed to wear a certain kind of clothing depending on what they were doing and how that changed over time.


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