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Irene Parlby (1868 - 1965)

Irene Parlby (1868 - 1965)

Irene Parlby had a fascinating life as an English aristocrat and a member of The Famous Five. She was the first Albertan woman and the second woman in Canada to hold a provincial cabinet post. She was an important advocate for rural women and children.

  • Parlby was born into an aristocratic family in England, and travelled the world before moving to Alberta in 1897.
  • Her experience as a farmer’s wife motivated her to improve the health and welfare of rural women and children in Alberta. She founded the United Farm Women of Alberta and was its president for 3 years.
  • She was elected to the Alberta Legislature in 921 and was known as “the Women’s Minister” due to her focus on health, children, and women’s issues.
  • She is best known for being a member of The Famous Five, the group of women who successfully argued that women are “persons” with the same rights as men.
  • Parlby argued that politics “most assuredly is a woman’s job as much as it is a man’s job.” 
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