Huzzah! Canada’s Google Doodle today celebrates the 165th birthday of Henrietta Edwards, an activist who ensured women were recognized as persons under Canadian law during the case of Edwards v. Canada (that’s right, she went up against an entire country). During her lifetime, Edwards also established Canada’s first YWCA, co-founded the Victorian Order of Nurses, wrote two books on women’s rights, established the National Council of Women, studied law, and was active in prison reform. Phew.
As if national recognition of Edwards’ work wasn’t sufficiently awesome, today’s Google was also drawn by none other than Kate Beaton!
If you’re down for a little bit of relevant Canadian history, Beaton talked to Google about Edwards’ significance:
"I think that when it comes to notable people in the women’s rights movement in Canadian history, there are names we know like Nellie McClung or Emily White. They are the token examples in the high school history text; the answer to a multiple choice question somewhere. Maybe we know “The Famous Five” and what they did with the Person’s Case, but I doubt many of us can list the individual women themselves.
I believe Henrietta Muir Edwards is one of the women who deserves a wider recognition for her work. Montreal-born–a transplant to the Prairies later in life–she fought for women’s rights, women’s education, women’s work and women’s health, across the country and from a very young age. She was a writer, an artist, a lawmaker and a teacher. She allied herself with likeminded activists and founded a number of movements and societies to improve the lives of women. Henrietta was a woman who made things happen and fought for it all with unflappable conviction. Canada is a richer country for having her as a citizen."