We previously addressed Japanese woman in internment camps, while it is true that this issue is a civil rights issue it is also a woman’s issue, as woman’s rights were violated, in terms of relocation and incarceration, and the tragic events of families being broken up. Women who were married to Japanese men and were not of Japanese origin did not have to enter the camps, but they would lose their husband and children who were forced to go.
There is no bigger issue for women than family and it was for that reason it included it in this series. When you read the series read it in the broader context of woman’s issues and women’s studies you will find this column is focused on many historical issues that face a broader context but are no less important to women and their lives.
We will now change our focus to what was happening in women’s lives in the 1940’s in Canada.
Quebec Women Get the Right To Vote
Normally Canada follows suit right after America has accomplished something, but as mentioned in the article on the suffrage movement, the first article in the series, Canada’s record for women’s voting rights was anything but uniform. Each province or ethnic group was given the right to vote at different times in history. Quebec women only got the right to vote in 1940. Even though the Canadian Suffragist Movement began at the Federal level in 1912- 1922, Quebec woman, and therefore Montreal women were excluded from this right, being one of the last provinces in Canada to finally give woman voting rights.
These women were courageous and ahead of their time, and their plight was not easy. They were ridiculed and criticized in all areas be it by politicians, journalists, clergymen and even other women who felt women women had no place in a man’s world especially when it came to political affairs.
You must understand that the Civil Code, which is a derivation of the French Napoleonic Code is the law of Quebec and not the English Common Law System. Under the civil code women were pretty much excluded from everything. Their only place in society was in the home. Home is a very powerful theme of this column for Montreal women and women all over the world.
To be continued