Saturday, October 18, 2008

Today in History

On 18 October 1929, the Persons Case, a legal milestone in Canada, was decided.

Five women from Alberta, later known as the Famous Five, asked the Supreme Court of Canada to rule on the legal status of women. Some decisions of Magistrate Emily Murphy had been challenged on the basis that she was not a legal person, and she was a candidate for appointment to the Canadian Senate.

After the Supreme Court ruled against them, they appealed to the British Privy Council. The Privy Council found for the women on this day (eight years after the case began and eleven years after women received the federal vote), declaring that women were persons under the law.

October 18 has since been celebrated as Persons Day in Canada, and October as Women's History Month. The other women activists in the Famous Five were Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, and Irene Parlby.

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