The Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) and The Manitoba Museum are working together for a special day of programming with students on the 100th anniversary of women first winning the right to vote.
On January 28, 1916, Manitoba became the first province to pass legislation that enshrined women's right to vote and hold elected office. However, many women – including Indigenous women – were not able to vote until decades later.
Students will interact with prominent women, including former prime minister Kim Campbell, tour exhibits about women's rights and participate in programs at both museums. The Honourable Janice C. Filmon, Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, will address the students during lunch. Her speech will be live-streamed through humanrights.ca starting at 12 p.m. CST.
What: Women leaders and students celebrate right to vote
When: Thursday, January 28, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (see schedule below)
Where: The Manitoba Museum (morning) and CMHR (afternoon)
The media is welcome to attend. Participating women leaders include Gail Asper, Myrna Driedger, Jodie Layne, Leah Gazan, Clare MacKay, Mariette Mulaire, Judy Redmond, Shahina Siddiqui and Gail Stephens. Bios and a schedule of events are attached below.
"The women who first won the right to vote did not consider that as the end – not by a long shot," Filmon said. "Throughout their lives, Nellie and the other women worked to bring about improvements for women. They knew they were taking part in a struggle that would take generations. They knew that women who were still not born would need to take up the banners."
The Manitoba Museum has developed an exhibition called "Nice Women Don't Want the Vote" to commemorate the 100th anniversary. It outlines the causes, contradictions and people in the suffragist movement. On January 28, the exhibit is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with additional programming on January 30 and 31.
The CMHR has several exhibits about women's rights – including one that displays a briefcase owned by the first woman elected to political office in Canada (Louise McKinney of Alberta). During the evening of January 27 (7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) the Museum hosts a free public talk by the Right Honourable Kim Campbell, which will also be live-streamed through humanrights.ca.
The Nellie McClung Foundation hosts a centennial gala during the evening of January 28 at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg. A highlight of the program will be the presentation of the inaugural Nellie Awards (The Nellies), recognizing Manitoba women who have followed in McClung's footsteps through their work in social justice, women's rights and human rights.
Schedule of events: January 28, 2016
The Manitoba Museum
8:30 a.m. – Introductions and keynote address: Rt.-Hon. Kim Campbell, Festival Hall
9:25 a.m. – TMM curator talk
9:45 a.m. – Students tour exhibit, Nice Women Don't Want the Vote
11 a.m. – Students leave TMM
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
12 p.m. – Introductions and keynote address: Lt-Gov. Janice C. Filmon, MTS Classrooms
1 p.m. – Women's rights program and tour for students
3 p.m. – Student and women leaders discuss the day
3:30 p.m. – Event ends
- Gail Asper is a Winnipeg lawyer, community leader, and philanthropist who helped spearhead the creation of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and led its fundraising campaign. A member of the Museum's board, she also chairs the National Arts Centre Foundation board. Involved in countless charitable causes, not-for-profit organizations and community projects, her volunteerism has been recognized with several awards, including being named a YMCA/YWCA Woman of Distinction. She is a member of the Order of Manitoba and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
- Kim Campbell is Canada's 19th prime minister and the first and only woman to have held the nation's highest elected office (June 25 to November 4, 1993). As a politician, diplomat, lawyer and writer, she has spent much of her life breaking barriers for women – starting at the age of 16, when she became the first female student body president of her high school. In recent years, she has been a strong advocate for gender parity and reform in the Canadian electoral system.
- Myrna Driedger is an elected MLA in Manitoba, where she is the Critic for Health and Status of Women. She has served as Canadian chair and international vice-chair of Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, which works for better representation of women in legislatures. Her strong belief in the power and ability of women led to the establishment of the Nellie McClung Foundation, where she is a board member and co-chair of The Centennial Gala: Celebrating 100 Years of Manitoba Women's Right to Vote.
- Leah Gazan teaches in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg. A member of the Wood Mountain Lakota Nation, she has worked with First Nations communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, is dedicated to delivering programs and services for inner-city and rural Indigenous communities, and is active in several organizations that promote justice, including Idle No More, and serves as president of the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. She is the co-founder of #WeCare campaign to combat violence against Indigenous women and girls.
- Janice Filmon is the 25th and current Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba – the second woman ever to serve in this role. Her tireless volunteerism and community work have included a strong focus on encouraging leadership among women. She is the founding chair of the Nellie McClung Foundation, an organization devoted to education and advocacy for women's rights and human rights. She has served as chair of the Cancer Care Manitoba Foundation and founded Manitoba ALIVE, a program teaching skills for the volunteer sector to high school students.
- Jodie Layne is a writer, health educator, body positive advocate and safer spaces consultant. Last March, she was named "Ms. Chatelaine" by Canada's Chatelaine magazine for her work teaching doctors how to talk to their patients about sex, and bar owners how to create safe spaces. Her organization, Safer Spaces Manitoba, combats street harassment, empowers women, and trains employers how to make safe spaces for women and the LGBTQ community. She frequently contributes to international publications on women's issues.
- Clare MacKay is vice-president, Corporate and Community Initiatives, at The Forks North Portage. Her 19-year career has included senior public relations positions with IQON Financial and The Fairmont Winnipeg, and work with boutique advertising firm Clark Communications, where she won two Signature Awards. She is a past president of the Canadian Public Relations Society, Manitoba Chapter, sits on the board of the St. Mary's Academy Foundation, and participates in numerous other boards and committees including Canada Summer Games 2017, Grey Cup 2015 and Junos 2014.
- Mariette Mulaire is president and CEO of the World Trade Centre Winnipeg. She was been involved with many local economic development initiatives, including helping create and host Centrallia, the first international B2B forum of its kind in Western Canada. She sits on several global boards of directors, including the Canada-Israel Industrial Research Development Foundation and the Canadian-Turkish Business Council. She also volunteers for the Manitoba Premier's Economic Advisory Committee, Manitoba Film and Music and the Canada Summer Games 2017 Host Society.
- Judy Redmond is the Universal Design Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg and works in all facets of her life to ensure full inclusion for people of all abilities. An active member of local and national disability organizations, she sits on the city's Access Advisory Committee, the Manitoba Accessibility Advisory Council and the Inclusive Design Advisory Council of the CMHR. In addition to holding a Masters degree in Accessibility and Inclusive Design, she brings personal insights as caregiver to a family member with a disability.
- Shahina Siddiqui has worked for over 20 years to foster understanding between Muslims and other religious/cultural groups, stressing the importance of harmony in our diverse society. She is the executive director of Islamic Social Services Association Canada, and a senior national board member of the Canadian Council on American Islamic Relations. She serves on the national RCMP Commissioner's Advisory Committee on Diversity and helped found the AlHijra Islamic School in Winnipeg. She is a regular media commentator on Islam and social issues.
- Gail Stephens is the chief operating officer at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and has also acted as its interim president and CEO. Previously, she worked as city manager of Victoria, head of the BC Pension Corporation and was the City of Winnipeg's first chief administrative officer — the first woman ever to run a major Canadian city. She was recognized by the Women's Executive Network as one of "The 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada" in 2003, 2010 and 2011.