Nellie McClung (1873 - 1951)
Nellie McClung was a writer, a politician, and an activist. She was a prominent member of the Famous Five, and she was instrumental in fighting for women’s right to vote in Manitoba.
- As a child, she was disappointed that girls were not allowed to run races at a local picnic. “The whole question of girls competing in races was frowned upon,” she said. “Skirts would fly upward and legs would show! And it was not nice for little girls, or big ones either, to show their legs! I wanted to know why, but I was hushed up."
- McClung was born in Ontario in grew up on a rural Manitoba homestead. She started school at 10 years old and earned her teaching credentials by the time she was 16.
- McClung joined the Winnipeg Political Equality League. She escorted then Manitoba Premier Rodmond Roblin through ghetto-like factories so he could see the deplorable working conditions women faced. In 1914 McClung staged a mock parliament in Winnipeg to bring even more attention to the issue. Manitoba was the first province to give women the right to vote in 1916.
- McClung was elected to the Alberta Legislature in 1921. She maintained her interest in social issues of the day such as Prohibition and medical care for school children.
- One of the Famous Five, McClung also played an important role in the famous “Persons Case”, wherein women were declared “persons” under the law.
- In the 1930s McClung moved to Victoria. She was a member of the CBC Board of Governors, and was named a delegate to the League of Nations that later became the United Nations. She also believed that women should be ordained Ministers in the United Church.