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

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By Tenzin Sungrab

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.

Before WWI, women’s rights in Canada were different from now. Many women outside the working class did not work because they were supposed to be the motherly figure and take care of the family. Women in the working class had to work in any job they could find because they needed to contribute to household income. Overall, women were not allowed to work at particular jobs like being in government because they were considered to be appropriate for men only. Women also did not have the right to vote because men thought they were superior to women and that women had no place in politics because it was outside the home. 

During WWI, women’s rights started to move forward. Many women went overseas to be nurses in the war, or they worked in factories to make weapons for the war since the men went to battle. During the war there was a conscription crisis that convinced politicians to allow a limited amount of women who had family members in the war to vote. At this time not enough people wanted to join the war, so the government of Robert Borden wanted to pass a law that would force men to fight overseas. They knew that politicians who would make this law a reality would be more likely to get elected if female relatives of soldiers were allowed to vote in elections. So they passed the Military Voters Act.

After WWI, some women were more appreciated than before WWI. However, when the men got back from war most women were laid off. Even if they were laid off at least they would soon realize that they are equal to men and protest against this. This time period was positive because it was the start of women’s rights. I think that the rights of women should now start to improve because women are not being treated the same way as the men are being treated. I think that this should be a topic of discussion because it is not fair for the women and it is not only in Canada that this is happening, this is happening all over America too. In conclusion I think that women should get the same amount of rights as men or even more. I believe that the end of WWI was the start of women’s rights in Canada.

Tenzin Sungrab is a student at Parkdale Collegiate Insitute.