Why is Women’s History Month Important?

Women have helped to shape the nation we live in, in the public sphere, within communities and in the home. However, the role of women in our history has not always received the attention it deserves, with many history books focusing primarily on political, military and economic leaders and events.

In 1992, the Government of Canada declared October as Women's History Month in Canada to recognize the contributions of women, past and present, from all walks of life, who influenced the development of our nation. The month of October was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the "Persons Case", a lengthy legal and political effort by five women which led to Canadian women being officially declared "persons" on October 18, 1929. As Nellie McClung, one of the major players in the "Persons Case", said, "people must know the past to understand the present and face the future".

Everyone can benefit from getting to know stories of the women who have helped to make Canada what it is today. These women – whether they were well-known public figures, or ordinary people working quietly behind the scenes – were daring, bold and brave. They persevered in overcoming challenges and fought for what they believed in. Their efforts – both large and small – have been instrumental in influencing Canadian society, helping to make it more just, more equitable and more open. They are role models for all Canadians, showing us how the actions of individuals, when taken together, can and do make a difference in the world.

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