10 Nellie McClung

Nellie McClung

Nellie Leticia Mooney was born in 1873, in Ontario, the youngest of six children.  Her Father was from Nenagh County Tipperary and her mother was from Scotland.  She married Wes McClung in 1896 and they had five children.
A teacher, temperance leader, suffragist, lecturer, politician, historian, wife, mother, and activist, Nellie McClung was also a famous writer, authoring numerous essays, articles and fifteen books.  She was the Liberal member of the Alberta Legislature for Edmonton from 1921 to 1926.  During that time she fought for mother’s allowances, public health nursing, free medical and dental care for children, and improved property rights for married women.
The Premier of Manitoba strongly opposed giving women the right to vote, and in 1914 Nellie McClung and her fellow reformers put on a play called “The Women’s Parliament,” a satire that poked fun at the dangers of giving men the right to vote.  The next year the suffragists helped to defeat Premier Roblin and in 1916 the new Liberal government gave the vote to Manitoba women.  Women in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia gained the right to vote in Provincial elections the same year, and the other provinces soon followed.
In 1927 she joined Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, and Henrietta Edwards for what would become known as “The Person’s Case.” Canada’s constitution stated that one must be a “person” to serve in the Senate, but in 1928 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the term “person” was not meant to include women, but only men. The women appealed the decision to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council. In October 1929 the Judicial Committee ruled that Canadian women were, in fact, persons and could be appointed to the Senate