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Nellie McClung 361
Nellie McClung

Nellie McClung (20 October 1873 – 1 September 1951) was a Canadian feminist, politician, author and social activist. One of the most important leaders of Canada's first wave of feminism, she was a part of the social and moral reform movements prevalent in the early 1900s.

Born in Chatsworth, Ontario, she later moved with her family, her husband and five children, to Winnipeg, Manitoba. She began teaching school in rural Manitoba when she was just 16 years old. As a young woman she became involved in social reform where she fought many social problems facing women and children, including the campaign for women's right to vote.
It was largely through her efforts that in 1916 Manitoba became the first province to give women the right to vote and to run for public office. The Government of Canada followed suit that same year.
She championed dental and medical care for school children, property rights for married women, mothers' allowances, factory safety legislation and many other reforms.

A successful author, she published her first novel Sowing Seeds in Danny in 1908. A national bestseller, it was succeeded by short stories and articles in several Canadian and American magazines. She served as a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta from 1921 to 1926.

She was one of The Famous Five with Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Emily Murphy, and Louise McKinney. Together they put forward a petition in 1927, to clarify the term "Persons" in Section 24 of the British North America Act 1867. This section had served to exclude women from political office. The petition was successful, clearing the way for women to enter politics in Canada.

Most recently, in October 2009, the Senate voted to name McClung and the rest of the “Famous Five”, Canada's first "honorary senators”.

Her legacy continues to live in the spirit of Canadian women's ongoing struggle to achieve social, economic and political equality.
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