My life as a woman in Canada
Women in Canada have only recently come close to equal treatment. We were not allowed to vote until WW1 (1914-1
and Quebec only granted women the vote in 1940. Even with the vote, women did not have rights separate from their husbands. Until 1929, women were not considered “persons” under our Constitution for the purpose of serving in the Senate.
I will share a sample of my experiences that hopefully young women today will find unthinkable.
I am both a psychologist and a lawyer. In the early 1960s when I told the Deans of both the Psychology Department and the Law School that I was planning to apply, their response was: “Why would we want to waste a graduate school position on a woman – you will just get married, have babies and stay home?” or “Why do you want to go to Law School – you would be the only woman?” or “Even if we accepted you – no one would give you a job – except possibly to make coffee in the back room.”
Family law: In the 1970s when couples separated, each spouse got the property he or she paid for. In most families, women bought the groceries and men bought the larger items. When they separated, women got the leftovers in the fridge and men got the home, cottage, pension, business – and the fridge. Marriage was NOT seen as a social and economic partnership and women did not have a right to an equal division of family or business property.
Criminal law: Men in a provincial prison got to attend college and university on the only bus available and male inmates got to earn money for part-time community work. Female inmates in a nearby prison got to attend hairstyling and make-up classes inside the institution – and ...