Persons Day

Persons Day Quick Facts

2023 DateOctober 18, 2023
2024 DateOctober 18, 2024

Persons Day

Persons Day, honors the struggle and victory of women's rights and recognizes their important role in society. The day not only commemorates the historical achievement of women being legally acknowledged as "persons" but also serves as a reminder to continue advocating for gender equality. This observance is particularly essential, as it highlights the progress that has been made, while also underlining the ongoing challenges women face in the pursuit of equal rights.

The origin of Persons Day can be traced back to the groundbreaking case of Edwards v. Canada, also known as the Persons Case, in 1929. Five Canadian women, known as the Famous Five – Emily Murphy, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Irene Parlby, Louise McKinney, and Nellie McClung – challenged the interpretation of the term "person" within the British North America Act of 1867. Prior to their victory, the term "person" did not legally include women, barring them from holding Senate positions. However, on October 18, 1929, the Privy Council in England ruled that women were indeed persons under the law, making a significant stride in the advancement of women's rights in Canada.

Persons Day is observed in Canada in various ways, with events and initiatives aimed towards celebrating women's achievements, increasing public awareness of the importance of gender equality, and inspiring future generations of women. Canadians often attend conferences, panel discussions, and educational events focused on women's contributions and causes. Persons Day is commemorated annually on October 18th, serving as a reminder of the nation's ongoing commitment to achieving gender equality and acknowledging the tireless efforts of the Famous Five and women alike.

Top X Posts (formerly Tweets) for Persons Day


Top facts & quotes about Persons Day

  • Louise McKinney was the first woman to be sworn into the British legislature. In 1917 she was sworn into the Alberta legislature.
  • On the 65th anniversary of the Persons case in 1996, the Famous 5 Foundation was established. As a non-profit corporation it set out to empower women and girls to courageously lead change that contributes to a society without boundaries for women.
  • On Persons Day, we pay tribute to the many women who fought, and those who continue to fight, to make gender equality a reality in Canada. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I invite Canadians to learn more about the countless activists who have helped Canada become a more equal, just, and inclusive democracy. It is up to all of us, no matter our gender identity or expression, to carry their legacy forward, achieve progress in advancing gender equality, and fight discrimination of every kind in Canada and around the world - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Persons Day 2020
  • Before the Persons Case, women in Canada were not considered persons under the British North America Act of 1867.
  • The first Indigenous woman to be appointed to the Canadian Senate was Senator Sandra Lovelace Nicholas in 2005.
  • The first female senator, Cairine Wilson, was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 1930.

Top things to do for Persons Day

  • Learn more about the Famous Five.
  • Watch a video about the Famous Five and the Persons Case.
  • Watch Nellie McClung (1991). Based on the biography by Charlotte Gray, the film tells the story of Nellie McClung who fought successfully for the Canadian woman's right to vote.
  • Watch The Apology (2016). Directed by Tiffany Hsiung, this is a powerful documentary about ‘comfort women’ from WWII, illuminating the atrocities they faced and their battle for justice.

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