The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of women first winning the right to vote in Canada. On January 28—the date that Manitoba became the first province to pass women’s voting rights into law—Library and Archives Canada (LAC), in partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, will officially launch an outdoor exhibition titled Let Them Howl: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage.
The exhibition will feature reproduction portraits of some of the women who fought for equality and the vote. Be sure to check out the exhibitions January 28 to February 15, 2016 on the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa (presented in partnership with Winterlude) and February 12–21, 2016 at the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg.
The exhibition features reproduction portraits from LAC’s collection of historic figures like Nellie McClung and Agnes Mcphail to modern women who have broken gender barriers, such as Adrienne Clarkson and Beverley McLachlin.
In 1921, Agnes Macphail became the first woman elected to the House of Commons, in the first federal election in which women had the right to vote. Despite opposition and ridicule, Macphail was an outspoken advocate of labour and women’s rights. She founded the Elizabeth Fry Society in 1939 to help women prisoners.
An austere, black-and-white portrait of Rosemary Brown by Canadian photographer Barbara Woodley captures Brown’s strength and determination. In 1972, Brown was the first black woman elected to a Canadian provincial legislature (Vancouver riding), a position she held for 14 years. She was also the first woman to run for federal leadership for the New Democratic Party in 1975, although she would not win. Later, she became a professor of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University where she would continue to work against social, racial and gender inequalities.
Canadian singer-songwriter and photographer Bryan Adams captures the regality of the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson in his portrait of the former Governor General. Prior to her appointment as Governor General, Clarkson broke through gender and racial barriers during her career in broadcasting and journalism. As Governor General, she was the first Chinese Canadian to hold the vice-regal position.
Please join the celebration by visiting the outdoor exhibition Let Them Howl: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Winnipeg or Ottawa and by researching more LAC collection material related to women’s rights.