How the First World War changed the path for Women in Canada


The First World War negatively affected the lives and worlds of many, but as Laura Brandon of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa said best, the war also "consolidated and made necessary change possible because everything needed to speed up to keep up".

If the war made any positive changes for the working class in Canada, none was as impactful or as significant as the changes to ammended to women's rights. It was the First Great War that had sent their men away. A shortage of workers meant women were required to step into this unfamiliar role taking jobs with laborious responsibilities, so that working farms and factories could continue to produce for the country. Thier effort proved that they were just as capable as their male counterpart. This was the start of a greater fight for the right to work, and, in turn, led to the women's right to vote. By 1917, Prime Minister Rober Borden, badly in need of votes far an upcoming and crucial election during the Great War, enacted the Wartime Elections Act in 1917, allowing women who were in relation to a man at war and vote in their place. By 1918, voting had been extended to all women over the age of 21.

Women even filled the hockey arenas, in absence of their male counterparts, taking to the ice themselves, popular leagues and individual hockey players quickly recieving popularity by late 1915.

The First Great War quickly drained the school teachers across the country. Predominatnely a male profession, women quickly had to step in. Today, female teachers are in the majority within the Canadian school system.


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