Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women

By Eschel M. Rhoodie | Go to book overview

15. Case Study: Canada

Voting and Political Rights

S. C. 1918, c. 20 granted Canadian women over the age of 21 the right to vote in federal elections. 1 But this was limited to Euroamerican women and all native peoples were excluded until 19602 when S. C. 1960, c. 39 was enacted. 3 The provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan had already enfranchised women in 1916 but other provinces acted later -- Nova Scotia in 1918, New Brunswick and Ontario in 1919, British Columbia in 1920, Prince Edward Island in 1922, Newfoundland in 1925, and Quebec in 1940. 4 Federal voting rights are now guaranteed by the Constitution Act of 1982 and in Section 3 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. "Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein."

The final clause of section 3 of the Charter provides women with the right to run for and hold public office in federal and provincial legislatures. Although the right to vote had been granted in 1918, women's right to hold public office was still being debated in the provinces of Canada eight years later. Five women brought the question to the Supreme Court of Canada for the determination of whether women were included in the term "persons" under the British North America Act of 1867 and whether or not they were eligible As members to the Senate. 5 The case was then appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England who overruled the Supreme Court of Canada. The Privy Council held that women are officially persons under the Constitution. 6

As section 3 of the Charter does not apply to the Senate, the same definition has been included in the Constitutional Act, which uses the term "persons" in setting qualifications for senators. 7 The right to participate in municipal elections is also omitted from section 3. 8 The controversy of whether women are included in "persons" could arise in other contexts due to R.S.C. 1970, c. I-23, the Interpretation Act, which states that a woman is included within the definition "unless a contrary intention appears." 9

Canadian women are treated differently from Canadian males under the Citizenship Act. A foreign-born wife of a Canadian male can apply for citizenship after one year, while a female's foreign-born husband must wait five years. 10 Children who are born abroad may also be treated differently depending on which parent is a Canadian citizen. The child of a Canadian father automatically becomes a citizen while a Canadian mother's child does not, unless the mother is divorced or unmarried. 11 A provision in the Immigration

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Discrimination Against Women A Global Survey of the Economic, Educational, Social and Political Status of Women
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Part One Introduction 1
  • 1. the Evaluation and Presentation of Data 2
  • 2. the Status of Women: A Global View 13
  • 3. the Environment of Discrimination 34
  • Part Two: Legal and International Aspects 61
  • 4. the International World 62
  • 5. Constitutional and Statutory Differentiation 79
  • Part Three: the African World 99
  • 6. General Survey. 100
  • 7. Case Study: Nigeria 115
  • 8. Case Study: Kenya Introduction 125
  • 9. Case Study: South Africa 136
  • Part Four: the European Community 165
  • 10. General Survey 166
  • 11. Case Study: United Kingdom 191
  • 12. Case Study: France 201
  • 13. Case Study: West Germany 214
  • 14. Case Study: Switzerland 227
  • Part Five: North America 239
  • 15. Case Study: Canada 240
  • Conclusion 247
  • 16 Case Study: The United States 248
  • Part Six: the Communist East Bloc 289
  • 17. General Survey 290
  • 18. Case Study: the Soviet Union 304
  • Part Seven: Latin America 321
  • 19. General Survey 322
  • 20. Brief Case Studies of Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru 332
  • Part Eight: the Arab-Muslim World 345
  • 21. General Survey 346
  • 22. Case Study: Egypt 363
  • 23. Case Study: Tunisia 369
  • 24. Case Study: Iran 375
  • Part Nine: the Asian World 383
  • 25. General Survey 384
  • 26. Case Study: India 395
  • 27. Case Study: Japan 402
  • 28. Case Study: the People's Republic of China 417
  • Part Ten: Conclusions, Recommendations, Guide to Data, and Research Proposals 431
  • 29. Summary and Conclusions 432
  • 31. Data: Guide to Information Sources 481
  • 32. Research Proposals 505
  • Notes 519
  • Bibliography 587
  • Index 601
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