• Myrna Driedger

Time to Honour Local Trailblazers

Manitoba has a rich history. We must all be proud of the strong strides that forward thinking women and men in our province have pushed for to make us the trendsetter in Canada for women’s enfranchisement.

Manitoba granted (most) women the right to vote in 1916 and became the catalyst for Canada and other provinces to soon follow. There were many people behind this, both men and women, who rejected the common ideas of the day. The idea that "nice women don’t want the vote" as the premier of the day reportedly said to Nellie McClung, was as laughable to this strong and courageous group in the early 1900s as it would be to you or I today.

The legacy that Nellie McClung and her peers left for many Canadians is an impressive one and one that must be celebrated. In 2004 I brought forward a private member’s bill that began the Nellie McClung Foundation. Originally, this group’s purpose was to honour the contributions of Nellie and her colleagues by placing a monument on the grounds of the Manitoba Legislature. Today, this foundation has grown into something so much more. The Nellie McClung Foundation works to honour the legacy of the courageous women who came before us, promotes education by providing resources and educational opportunities, and celebrates the successes of women.

One of the latest initiatives by the Nellie McClung Foundation in partnership with the Winnipeg Free Press is the 150 Women Trailblazer Awards. This is an opportunity to salute the contributions that Manitoba women have made to social justice, arts, sports, politics, community activities and promoting democracy while developing this great province.

These Trailblazer Awards will honour Nellie McClung’s vision by recognizing the spirit of her life’s work being advanced by women leaders of today or throughout Manitoba’s history. The 150 Women Trailblazers will be named in conjunction with Manitoba’s 150th anniversary in May of 2020. They will, however, not be time limited to the 150 years of Manitoba as a province. Women who lived in this territory before it was given the name ‘Manitoba’ are eligible.

I encourage you to put forward the names of the woman or women you know of who have been trailblazers in their field. The deadline to nominate is Nov. 29, 2019. For more information go to ournellie.com

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