Canada like many countries in the world is faced with the problem of the discrimination of women and the other minorities. However, over the recent few years Canada has made positive steps towards realizing equity within its different sexes. This paper focuses on women rights in Canada and how they have changed over the twentieth century to the current status. This paper argues that three important changes regarding women rights have transformed the Canadian society. These three changes include; allowing women to vote, sealing the income gap between men and women, and the provision of educational opportunities to the female gender.
A. First argument
i. Allowing women to vote have made women to become an integral part in the reform process of Canada.
ii. Women constitute more than half of the Canadian population and they therefore form the majority of voters
iii. The involvement of women in the political process of Canada has changed the political culture of Canada such that it is now accommodative of women in legislative positions.
iv. Involvement of women in federal elections has increased democratic accountability of political leaders to other minorities within their respective constituencies.
B. Second Argument
i. Sealing the income gap between men and women.
ii. The creation of trade unions to fight for the rights of women workers.
iii. Education opportunities for women so that they can favorably compete with men in the job Market.
iv. Agitating for reforms in the current tax and income laws in Canada so as to enhance economic equity in the country.
C. Third Argument
i. Providing more education opportunities to women.
ii. Encouraging educating of women from the family unit.
iii. Education empowering women to understand their rights better
iv. Women taking leadership role in the family unit due to economic independence
i. Thesis statement, main points, and general ideas from the research.
This paper intends to compare women’s rights in Canada in the 20th Century to the status of these rights today. There are three key elements that this paper intends to focus on. The first important element is the question of women suffrage. Women have been allowed to vote in national elections. This move has completely boosted the power of women in decision making. The second important element that this paper intends to look at is the income gap that exists between men and women in Canada. Analysts argue that the gap has increased over the years. For example the gap was about 15 percent in 1981. The gap went to a low of 12% before going to a high of 18% in 2001(Kinahan 16). Things have not changed much since then. This is a clear indication that this is a controversial element in the economic topography of Canada. The third important element that this paper intends to talk about is the question of equal education opportunities between men and women. Analysts argue that the number of women accessing education in Canada today has significantly increased over the last twenty years. However the opportunities that are provided tend to favor men at the expense of women. Therefore there is a dire need to look at the problems surrounding the successes of the girl child in Canada so as to enhance equity in the country. One of the major areas that this paper intends to extrapolate on this point is the by looking at the number of women occupying leadership position especially in the political arena.
First Point: Allowing Women to Vote
Looking at the first point, women were not allowed to participate in federal elections until 1918(Schirmacher 64).Before 1918; women were only allowed to participate in smaller election like municipal elections. The role of voting was left purely to white males. One might question the reason as to why women were left out of the voting process yet they constitute a reasonably large proportion of the Canadian population. However, it is clear that men did not view women as having the ability to work effectively in the public sphere. One might argue that the Canadian man before 1918 was governed by a chauvinist ideal that made him think that the Canadian woman should be confined to the domestic sphere. However, it is important to note that both men and women have the same potential if they are given equal opportunities to compete. In fact, many women outshine men in most areas for example education and management. Areas that men were believed to be fit to occupy have been taken by women. Before the 20th century it was difficult to get women combatants going to war. However, situations have changed such that women occupy positions that were expected to belong to men. Focusing on the political sphere of Canada women were not allowed to occupy legislative positions before 1918. It was not until 1921 that the first Canadian woman, Agnes Macphail, was elected as Member of Parliament. Interesting enough this woman remained in power for about 14 years. Clearly, any Member of Parliament that is able to retain his or her seat in subsequent elections has the favor of his constituents. This favor comes out of the fact that the elected official demonstrates democratic accountability to his or her own voters. Therefore, Agnes Macphail is a demonstration of leader who respected the social contract granted to her by her constituents. During her tenure in her office they are many men who lost their parliamentary seats due to lack of accountability and transparency. Therefore, it is not fair to look at women in Canada as being low achievers but it is important to give them a chance to be able to prove that they can be able to meet the needs of their constituents. It is encouraging to see that the people of Canada have transitioned from Chauvinist political ideologies to a more accommodative set up. Unlike 1921 when the Canadian parliament had only one female legislator, the legislative body had about 64 women serving in parliament in the year 2006(McFadden 29). This is clearly a tremendous step towards creating a political structure that is accommodative of women who are part and parcel of the Canadian parliament.
The idea of allowing women to vote has changed the Canadian societies in that women have people within parliament that fight for their rights. Women now have the ability to vote for leaders who will address their needs in the society. Bearing in mind that women in Canada constitute more than half of the Canadian population, politicians are more likely to address the needs of women in that they understand that the women population constitutes more of the votes. Therefore, a leader who does not work to meet the needs of the women population is not likely to get the votes from the women voters. The other important way in which allowing women to vote has changed the Canadian society is that women are allowed to participate in the daily political life of their country. This means that women are not afraid to expose any vices within governance that come about as a result of bad governance. This keeps the Canadian government on its tows such that the desire of all classes and economic levels of people are met. The participation of women in voting has also improved the family unit in that legislations that were initially oppressive of women have received massive criticism. For example the ownership of property by women was not provided for in early 19th century (Sangster 122). However, after women were allowed to vote, women have been able to agitate for the creation of friendly legislations that grants them the opportunity to own property and at the same time file taxes as men do.
Second point: Reduction of Income gap between men and women.
The second important point is that women in Canada face the problem of income gap in relation to men. This problem has characterized the economic topography of the country over a long time. However there is remarkable progress that is evident in Canada in an effort to curb this problem. One the way in which problem is being solved is through the creation of women trade unions that fight for rights of women workers. These trade unions have been able to agitate for the rights of women workers though at times they face challenges and opposition from the public sector (Pierson 36). One of the things that have prompted reform in terms of the income structure in Canada is the fact that women occupy a larger proportion of Canadian workforce than men. This means that when women agitate for better wages and the sealing of the income gap between them and men, they speak for the majority of the work force. Therefore the Canadian government cannot ignore their concerns. In addition, Canadian women are increasingly gaining better education compared to the percentage that was there in the 20th Century. This means that many women are able to access high paying jobs that were initially occupied by men. In this way, women are being actively involved in the economic welfare of Canada and also are able to compete favorably with men for high paying jobs.
Third Point: Educational empowerment for women
The third important thing is the question of education. Unlike the 20th Century when more men than women accessed higher education, patterns have changed such that more women are receiving education today. This means that the opportunities that were only available to men initially are now open to women. This allows a healthy competition between the male and female gender from a political, social, and economic standpoint. Educating women in Canada has also allowed women at the grass root to have a better understanding of their rights. Therefore, education has helped women understand their rights and has therefore empowered them to be able to fight for these rights. In addition, women education has also allowed women to assume a leadership role in the family unit (Thomsen 47). Instead of being confined to the domestic sphere most women have been able to participate in both the public sphere and the domestic sphere. This account for the increasing incidences of single parenting in Canada in that women have become economically empowered and cam therefore sustain their own families without the help of men.
Conclusion: Recap of Thesis Statement & Main Ideas
In conclusion, allowing women in Canada to participate in federal elections has allowed women to become influential in the decision making of Canada. Women are now able to influence legislation both by their numbers and also through collective interests. Women can now view themselves as vehicles of reform and change within Canada in that they directly involved in the change of policies through their participation in federal elections. Secondly women have been able to fight for the reduction of income gaps between them and men through the formation of trade unions. This is achieved by the fact that women are now able to access education just like men. In this way, women are able to occupy leadership positions that were initially occupied by men. In addition, access of higher education by women has promoted their economic independence from. This account for the increasing numbers of women who have assumed the leadership roles in their family units in that they feel that they have all it takes to be able to sustain their families without the assistance of men.
Kinahan, Anne-Marie. “Transcendent Citizenship: Suffrage, the National Council
of Women of Canada, and the Politics of Organized Womanhood.” Journal of
Canadian Studies 42.3 (2008): 5-27. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 Feb. 2012.
McFadden, Margaret. Women’s issues: Volume 1. New York: Salem Publishers, 2007.
Pierson, Ruth Roach. Canadian Women’s Issues: Bold Visions. Ontario, Canada:
James Lorimer & Company Ltd, 2005. Print.
Sangster, Joan. “Women Workers, Employment Policy and the State: The
Establishment of the Ontario Women’s Bureau.” Labour / Le Travail 36.1
(2005): 119-145. JSTOR. Web. 26 Feb. 2012.
Schirmacher, Kaethe. The Modern Woman’s Rights Movement. New York: University
of Colorado Press, 2010. Print.
Thomsen, Natasha. Women’s rights. New York: InfoBase Publishing, 2007. Print.