Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Agnes Macphail

Pioneering politician

"I owed it to my father that I was elected to Parliament in the first place, but I owed it to my mother that I stuck it out once I got there." - Agnes Macphail

Born in Grey County, Ontario in 1890; died in 1954.

Canadian women gained the right to run for Parliament in 1919; Agnes Macphail was elected in 1921, the first federal election in which women had the vote.

First female Member of Parliament in Canadian history after she was elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa in 1921.

Began her career as a country schoolteacher.

Bcame a member and active spokesperson for the United Farmers of Ontario. Her move into politics stemmed from her desire to represent the farmers of her region.

Courageous and dedicated champion of human rights who successfully fought for old-age pensions, prison reform, and farmers' co-operatives.

Saw herself as representing women's issues and founded the Elizabeth Fry Society of Canada.

First Canadian woman to be sent as a delegate to the League of Nations in Geneva in 1929.

One of her final political achievements occurred in the Ontario legislature in 1951, when she championed legislation that mandated equal pay for equal work for Ontario women.


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