Toronto Star

Oct. 19, 01:00 EDT

Women are still victims: Clarkson

Toronto Star

OTTAWA — It is appalling that Canadian women are still the most vulnerable in society and face discrimination and violence, Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson said yesterday at a ceremony to honour six feminists.

In a speech at awards commemorating the legal battle five women led to have Canadian women recognized as "persons'' in 1929, Clarkson said it is intolerable that Canada still allows discrimination against women.

"As I go across the country and privately visit women's shelters and counselling centres, I am appalled that the most vulnerable people in our society are still women,'' Clarkson said in the ballroom of her Rideau Hall residence.

She spoke of women "who have no voice and whose needs are not only not met, but in fact rejected. We must not put up with this. It is a form of discrimination."

She was presenting the Governor-General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, which saw Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby and Louise McKinney win Privy Council recognition in Great Britain for Canadian women as "persons.''

She appealed to "middle-class women'' who benefited to be mindful of women whose needs are still not met, noting very few rights are freely given to women.

"All of the basic rights — the right to have an education, to express yourself through writing and art — were fought for by our predecessors. And those women who did not help in that struggle actually hindered it."

— Thompson

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