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An Ode of Gratitude to the Famous 5 on Persons Day

Persons Day KHD team in front of Famous 5 Statue at Olympic Plaza
KHD Team with statue of the Famous 5 at Olympic Plaza, Calgary, AB

It’s still a bit of a shock when I see this date: October 18, 1929. What’s so special about this day? It’s the date (some) women became persons under the law in Canada. Can you believe that was less than 100 years ago? It is astounding to think that my grandmother was not considered a person or equal to my grandfather. Just sit with that for a moment. I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice and the strength of the women who fought for our equality. We (the KHD team) are grateful for Persons Day.

The history

There’s a saying which has been attributed to different historical figures that goes, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” These women must have behaved very badly by societal standards at the time, and we are so glad they did! Five brave women, (the Famous 5), fought the Supreme Court of Canada for women to be included in the definition of person and after they denied it, they went to the highest court of appeal. Emily Murphy, Nelly McClung, Louise McKinney, Irene Parlby and Henrietta Muir Edwards journeyed to London to appeal the case with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of Great Britain. On October 18, 2019, after a long battle, they received the verdict they were looking for. Lord Sankey, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, announced “The exclusion of women from all public offices is a relic of days more barbarous than ours. And to those who would ask why the word ‘person’ should include females, the obvious answer is, why should it not?”

It would be some time before all women received recognition as persons, but this was a huge win in the fight for gender equality and gave way to a great many fundamental things that would not be possible without it. If not for this law and the precedent it set, women would not be allowed to open a business, hold political office, control their own destinies.

How the Persons Day decision affects the women of KHD

In the spirit of the Famous 5, Persons Day, and all that it imbues, our KHD team loves to lift women up, connect them to others, and bring them to the realization of their own dreams. I support the Famous 5 Foundation in Calgary whose goal is to encourage and empower a new generation of nation builders. Our internal team is filled with strong, vibrant, and skilled women who create technical and beautiful designs and have been trailblazers within the design and construction industries.

When women are at the table, the conversation is different. And if I might be so bold as to say it’s not just different, it’s richer, better. We are half the population. Before this ruling, we didn’t have a seat at the table. We didn’t have a voice. Half the population was not represented in leadership and had obstacles in the way of them achieving their dreams. We want to empower every individual to achieve their goals with no barricades in the way of their development.

There’s still a long way to go in the fight for human and gender equality, but today we have a smile of gratitude on our faces and joy in our hearts when we consider this large win that paved the way for so many women. Happy Persons Day!

If you would like to talk to the KHD team about putting fresh energy into loving your home, let’s talk.

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