October 16, 2020
October 18, 2020 is Persons Day in Canada. This day commemorates a historical Canadian victory – the decision to include females in the legal definition of the word “persons”. In 1927, the case, Edwards v Canada (AG), was brought before the Supreme Court of Canada by five courageous women: Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards aka the “famous five”. They appealed this case from the Supreme Court of Canada to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain.
On October 18, 1929, the Privy Council found that the word “persons” does include females. This was a pivotal moment in the equality of rights for women, which not only allowed women to serve in the Senate, but also recognized women’s rights: thanks to the fight of the “famous five”.