Throughout this journey I have often written not only about men in uniform, mostly in the US, but Canada as well, but also included dedicated space to bring you the stories of many of the women in uniform that deserve notice here.
Much space has been dedicated to the "Famous Five" who led the years long battle to prove that women were actually PERSONS as well. The obstinence of Canadian authorities, for years with their heads in the sand, resulted in five women taking the battle to Britain. Thus resulting in their rights being confirmed and eligibility to sit in the Canadian Senate and equal to that of any man.
From that later came the Persons Awards in 1979 and still later, in 1992, the whole month of October annually being declared as Women's History Month in Canada.
Over the years these matters have received much attention in this space. And it is apparent they need much more attention.
These are the five women who gave so much to carry the fight and finally established the rights of women to serve in the Canadian Senate.
As noted in past blogs (searchable with tool in upper right of this page,) female lawyers had written in Ontario in 1979 about women's rights. They noted that it was exactly 50 years earlier that the Famous Five won their case in Britain.
They also noted that something should be done about bringing forth the story of that earlier struggle.
Women on the staff of David MacDonald, the federal government's Minister Responsible for the Status of Women liked the idea. Plans where considered, and he presented same to RH Prime Minister Joe Clarke, who then presented same to the then serving Governor General... His Excellency the Right Honorable Edward Schreyer.
The plan called for the offices of the Status of Women to receive nominations from across Canada. That office would then whittle them down, a final jury would make the selections, the women selected would be advised of the honor about to be bestowed on them, a date set for a most elaborate presentation of the awards and the Secretary advising the GG of the steps being taken, and with GG approval a ceremony at Ottawa would finally take place.
There was one to be done annually, and while the goal was for there to be five recipients, on a few occasions the selectors could not whittle the numbers down to five, no doubt because of the credentials each possessed. In several years there were 7 recipients, including in that first year. Several other years saw 6 but the majority of the years saw five awards being made.
And as often shown on the site, below is the actual medal itself. it depicts five women but NOT the five who actually fought the battle for Canada.
One must wonder if there will be any awards announced this October.
Regardless, Information about the award can be discovered at the federal government's web site. Just search for 'Persons Awards.'
Note that the page, shown above, was updated in mid April of this year. This is rather strange when the very page notes that It is too late to nominate someone for 2019, but apparently you can still nominate someone for 2020, for an event that was supposed to take place a year ago.
As interesting, if you search on the site you will come up with a page talking about the "Policy and Jury." The page discusses Jury selection and other matters regarding the medal. On that page, apparently also recently updated, you are told at section 4, that If you wish to get further details go to section 2a above. Trouble is no such subsection exists.
Da! # 2
In 2019 and 2020 I had a few conversations with officials at Status of Women and the governor general's offices. I was asking why no awards have been made for those 2 years. I was told that internal shuffling and others matters needed sorting out but hopefully awards would seem be awarded. Yet none have.
DA! # 3.
Who knows what we shall see in October. The announcement of Medals can be forwarded through the internet and Lt Governors offices in appropriate cases can assist in presentations that Covid may make difficult.
But three years without these medals, and not 5 medals but 15 at least, for the missing years need to be made to reflect on the true meaning of these government offices and better reflecting that this disservice to the women of Canada has been recognized and steps taken to rectify it.
I encourage all readers to contact your federal MP's and women's groups in Canada to ask that they join in making their views known that this disservice has gone on far too long and must be put a stop to.
Make the recipients, their loved ones and friends and the thousands who have joined in making the work of these wonderful women acknowledged once again.
And give some deap thoughts expressed by the very first group of recipients back in 1979...
Fights for Women's Rights Not over Yet."
See you in 2 weeks.