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Agnes Campbell Macphail’s Impact on Equal Rights in the 1930’s Essay

Many women in the 1930’s have done important, effective and positive impacts that still contribute to life today. The Great Depression caused and dominated millions of citizens who made women stronger and helped the economy build up again. One of the main women that sacrificed her whole career to do what she believed in and make a difference in many lives was Agnes Campbell Macphail. Macphail had made numerous contributions in the 1930s for fairness and equality. She was also one of the first women into Parliament. Macphail believed women have a place and right to express their own opinions.

She mainly entered politics to represent the farmers of the region she grew up in which was Grey County. Macphail had seen the struggles her family, friends, and fellow neighbors had suffered in the farming portion. Now a days, Macphail is the reason why men and women have the same amount of pay; since 1951, she was responsible for the first equal pay legislation. In the year 1930, Agnes Campbell Macphail made countless positive impacts on equal rights. She successfully was the first woman to be elected into the Canadian Parliament in 1921.

In addition, Macphail created various desires with great determination in the Women’s UFO (United Farmers of Ontario). She had great influence towards the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. With great passion and perseverance, Macphail made great history by being elected for the first woman into Parliament. She advocated and supported women to gain the same civil rights as men. “Macphail fought tirelessly against a lot of gender discrimination through which she has constantly prove herself worthy.

Macphail argued that women deserve a place in politics due to their more gentle, pure, and nurturing natures, which would have a positive effecting political doings” (History Idol: Agnes Macphail). In this quote it shows and proves what Macphail’s beliefs were and how she made it so far with her determination. It showed that everyone has hope and can do anything if they try their best to accomplish what they believe in. To be the first women into Parliament is a big step, but to make a difference in the world since 1930 till today is to whole new level.

Also, Macphail successfully was able to get the same pay for men and women. “One of her final political achievement occurred in the Ontario legislature in 1951, when she defended and supported the legislation that instructed equal pay for equal work for women in Ontario” (www. historica-dominion. ca). This caused and impacted Ontario very highly because many citizens were glad that Macphail achieved equality for them. After all her work hard work Macphail finally made a change in politics and discrimination. Macphail actively participated in the Women’s United Farmers of Ontario, which was a group founded in Grey County.

The reason why Macphail was so determined to help the legal rights for Farmers in Ontario was because she had relatives and friends working there with horrible working conditions. She wanted to try her best to make it easier for them the best she could. “Macphail’s contact with the United Farmers and Farm Women of Ontario afforded her opportunities for political involvement and making it a better environment to live in” (www. ccheritage. ca). This shows and explains the effort Macphail had made to make women that work on farmers, easier and a better society to live in.

She saw the struggles her family had to go through especially during the Great Depression, which motivated her to work twice as hard to get the equal legal rights as they all deserved. Macphail risked her whole career to get the position of being the effective person to represent the UFO. “While she was working is Sharon, she became a member and active spokes-person for the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) and the United Farm Women of Ontario. Her desire to represent the farmers in her region was what restricted her to help in the political career.

ON top of all that this she was also a communist for the Farmer’s Sun” (Flesherton – Agnes Macphail). She was very focused to make men and women have the same rights and make them aware about the problems the farmers faced. This was important for the people to know about these issues because a good citizen is aware of the situations that are happening within their own community, other countries and as well know what was happening in the world. During Macphail’s existence, she had a very important role and influence towards the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

She was the president for that league for approximately 3 years. She actively participated in many projects in the League and had done good things to help the League improve on their presentation to get more people involved. “Agnes Macphail was probably the best-known member, serving for a number of years as honorary president” (The Canadian Encyclopedia). The League mostly stood up and tried to improve the women’s rights during the 1930s. It was extremely challenging to gain civil rights for women because the Great Depression would keep getting in the way and make it more complicated.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom showed her values by supporting what ever she thought and felt like what right to do in that time and during any kind of situation, since she was president after all. As a journalist, Macphail had many thoughts to write in a book and publish so citizens can hear her voice and what opinions she had to say. “Macphail was a journalist and ardent supporter of the concerns of both women and farmers. She played a key role in promoting the organization and uniting other groups concerned with peace and disarmament” (The Canadian Encyclopedia).

It is very important what Macphail did during her time in the League because she influenced her team members to never give and always persevere. The positive impact she had on women’s rights in the 1930s was mainly because she was the president for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She fought for every right that she could to get the best outcome there could possibly be. Macphail never gave up on anything and always worked hard for a better world to live in and build a healthier economy during the Great Depression.

Women mainly paid more attention to Macphail because of what she believed in and what she tried to do as a change. Agnes Campbell Macphail has made many impressive and positive impacts in women’s equal rights during the 1930s and still continued till the early 1950s. Macphail helped save women’s lives and their freedom by participating in many programs. Some of the many things she has done was being apart of Parliament in 1921. She fought against discrimination and sexism. She was also apart of the UFO and represented the farmers in the region.

Another program she successfully joined was the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She was the president for that league for a very long time and improved it over a period of time. If Agnes Campbell Macphail did not accomplish and do what she did in the 1930s, women’s rights today, would be very different. Many women are thankful for what they are allowed to do and have today, women have many rights and freedoms to many things which they did not have before. Examples could include that they are able to work and get equal pay, get their drivers license, participate in sports teams and many more.


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