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Beyond the Vote

Beyond the Vote: Canadian Women and Politics

Linda Kealey
Joan Sangster
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 349
  • Book Info
    Beyond the Vote
    Book Description:

    Contributors to this volume explore women's involvement in organizations from the political left to right, and women's efforts to shape Canada's political priorities and activities.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7138-6
    Subjects: History, Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. PART ONE Reassessing Women in Canadian Politics

    • Introduction
      (pp. 3-15)
      Linda Kealey and Joan Sangster

      It has long been assumed that once women obtained the key symbol of political equality, the vote, they retreated from the public sphere and political arena, and returned only after a second wave of feminism in the 1970s propelled them back into political action. Indeed, in recent years, under the influence of a renewed feminist movement, mainstream political parties have declared a ‘new-found’ interest in women and politics; over the last decade all three federal Canadian parties have proclaimed their intentions to seek out female political candidates and consider women’s issues in their platforms.

      For many feminist historians and political...

    • Feminist Approaches to Women in Politics
      (pp. 16-36)
      Jill McCalla Vickers

      In the past decade,women-in-politicshas emerged as a research field in the English-speaking world. Most of the scholars involved are women and many are feminists. And yet, the influence of this field has been slight within the social sciences, within the women’s movement, and within the male-dominated world of ‘official’ politics. There are several trends that seem destined to alter this situation. First, the women’s movement has begun to mobilize around questions that require insights from feminist theories of politics. The question of why feminists should trust the state to undertake the censorship of pornography is one such question....

  5. PART TWO Canadian Women and the Old Parties

    • ‘A Noble Effort’: The National Federation of Liberal Women of Canada, 1928–1973
      (pp. 39-62)
      Patricia A. Myers

      In April 1928, the National Federation of Liberal Women of Canada began auspiciously as over 500 women attended its founding meeting.¹ The event had been long in coming: almost five years before, in June 1923, the Ottawa Women’s Liberal Club ordered the formation of a committee to study the possibility of a national federation affiliated with the Liberal party. The federation would consist of a national executive elected at national conventions, of provincial and regional associations, and of local or constituency clubs. Cairine Wilson, who had headed the Advisory Council of the National Federation of Women’s Liberal Clubs, an organization...

    • ‘A Respectable Feminist’: The Political Career of Senator Cairine Wilson, 1921–1962
      (pp. 63-86)
      Franca Iacovetta

      In February 1930, one year after five Albertan suffragists had established the right of a woman to sit in the Canadian Senate,¹ Prime Minister Mackenzie King recommended the appointment of Cairine Wilson to the Upper Chamber. Apparently relieved that King had not chosen the most likely candidate, feisty Judge Emily Murphy, the OttawaEvening Journalreported: ‘Mrs. Wilson is the very antithesis of the short-haired reformer … that unlovely type which talks of Freud and … the latest novel and poses as an intellectual.’ Rather, Wilson was ‘of the much more appealing and competent kind who makes a success of...

  6. PART THREE The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation

    • Amelia Turner and Calgary Labour Women, 1919–1935
      (pp. 89-117)
      Patricia Roome

      I think, on every occasion, that you appeared before the public, whether on the radio or on the platform, that you made friends. And not merely because of your fine presentation of socialist theories, but because of your dignity and modesty. One of the Stanley Jones teachers said of you, after the Sunday meeting, she looked so sweet and modest. We all owe you a great debt and we will surely try to repay it in loyalty and greater appreciation.¹

      When Edith Patterson wrote this note to Amelia Turner on the evening of her defeat in a Calgary provincial by-election...

    • The Role of Women in the Early ccf, 1933–1940
      (pp. 118-138)
      Joan Sangster

      At the founding convention of the ccf in Regina, 1933, the women delegates were far outnumbered by the men in the conference hall. Despite their small numbers, they were a determined and dedicated group, many of whom, like the men, had to improvise and economize to reach Regina that summer. Dorothy Steeves and Mildred Osterhaut Fahrni, from Vancouver, shared a bumpy car ride to Regina with frequent tire blow-outs. They had feared that the car would not make it through the mountains. Lorna Cotton-Thomas, a well-educated but unemployed graduate of the University of Toronto, made illegal use of a friend’s...

    • Thérèse Casgrain and the ccf in Quebec
      (pp. 139-168)
      Susan Mann Trofimenkoff

      From Paris, Thérèse Casgrain cabled her acceptance of the leadership of the party.¹ It was the second time she had been elected in absentia and by acclamation to prominent positions in the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (ccf). Three years earlier a national convention of the ccf chose her as one of the two national vice-chairmen, while she summered in Point au Pic.² Now, in the late spring of 1951, while she was in Europe to attend meetings of the Socialist International in Frankfurt (and to keep an eye on the latest Paris fashions³), she took on the provincial leadership as well....

  7. PART FOUR Labour, Socialist, and Communist Women

    • Women in the Canadian Socialist Movement, 1904–1914
      (pp. 171-195)
      Linda Kealey

      The names of Canadian women in the socialist movement are seldom mentioned in existing histories of the left, for narratives of the socialist movement in Canada have tended to concentrate on the political experiences and organizations associated with male socialists. In the published studies, English and Scottish socialist immigrants, especially those in the skilled trades, usually emerge as the most important leaders of socialism in this country. Recent work has begun to investigate the roles of non-British workers and women in both the labour and socialist movements. This essay focuses on the role of women in the Canadian socialist movement...

    • Finnish Socialist Women in Canada, 1890–1930
      (pp. 196-216)
      Varpu Lindström-Best

      I never thought I was a radical. I have just always supported the worker’s movement. But then one day the mounties came and searched through my house, took my books, even went through my letters and called me a ‘damn red.’ The same year my husband got blacklisted from the mine. That’s when I realized that in this country the workers who tried to help each other were radicals. I have been proud to be called a radical ever since.¹

      To this disgruntled immigrant woman, radicalism was a relative term. She came from Finland, where the socialist movement had spread...

    • From Wage Slave to White Slave: The Prostitution Controversy and the Early Canadian Left
      (pp. 217-236)
      Janice Newton

      ‘Capitalism systematically manufactures prostitutes’ declared the front page of Canada’s largest selling socialist newspaper in 1911.¹ The newspaper was responding to a perceived crisis in the changing nature of sexual relations, known as the ‘sex question,’ that frequently heralded growing concerns about the changing nature of Canadian society. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, public debate raged over the problems of prostitution, the declining birth rate, sexual morality, white slavery, venereal disease, and the sexual customs that were thought to accompany these problems. Prostitution, in particular, drew public attention as it became more visible with industrialization and...

  8. PART FIVE Politics and Community

    • The Ideas of the Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada, 1930–1945
      (pp. 239-257)
      Frances Swyripa

      In February 1924 a 34-year-old Ukrainian woman, Olha Basarab, died in a jail in Lviv, the major city in Galicia in Western Ukraine. Her death followed her torture by Polish police acting for the new Poland to which, in 1923, the Council of Ambassadors had handed most of Western Ukraine. Basarab had been arrested for activities as an intelligence courier in the illegal Ukrainian Military Organization (Ukrainska viiskova orhanizatsiia – uvo), composed of members of the defeated Ukrainian independence armies unreconciled to the new status quo and dedicated to continuing the struggle. She died without betraying her comrades or the...

    • Politicized Housewives in the Jewish Communist Movement of Toronto, 1923–1933
      (pp. 258-275)
      Ruth A. Frager

      Egalitarianism is the touchstone of both socialism and feminism, and many believe that this implies common goals. One who believes this is Sadie Hoffman, a long-time member of Toronto’s Jewish Communist movement. When Hoffman was asked recently if the men within the movement had had a more progressive view of woman’s place than other men had during the inter-war period, she replied: ‘I don’t know. They should have. They should have [because] they wanted everybody to be freer.’¹ Her reply highlights the common assumption that because socialists have been attuned to issues of class domination, they would have been sensitive...

    • Women’s Peace Activism in Canada
      (pp. 276-308)
      Barbara Roberts

      Canadian historians have only recently turned their attention to the Canadian peace movement. Although documentation of their activities is still skimpy, it is clear that women working in women-only and mixed women/men groups have made a significant contribution to twentieth-century peace movements at the national and international level. Women’s peace activism is noteworthy in several different but overlapping settings. Many Canadian women were active as members of women-only groups that devoted some attention to peace as a subsidiary issue, such as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union or various women’s church societies. Many were the mainstay of mixed male/female peace groups...

    • The Politicization of Ontario Farm Women
      (pp. 309-332)
      Pauline Rankin

      Housed in Canada’s National Gallery is an 1890 painting by Ontario artist George Agnew Reid entitled ‘Mortgaging the Homestead.’ In sombre tones, Reid’s canvas depicts a disheartened farm family huddled together to witness the signing of the mortgage documents. While other members of the discouraged gathering peer downwards, only a young woman clutching a baby and seated in the centre of the scene meets the viewer’s eye as if looking beyond the farm for a solution to her family’s financial woes. Although almost a century old, Reid’s poignant portrayal of this farm wife still serves as an appropriate symbol for...

  9. Abbreviations
    (pp. 333-334)
  10. Contributors
    (pp. 335-336)
  11. Index
    (pp. 337-349)