Emily Murphy

Leadership through the years

Who Is She?

Emily Murphy (born as Emily Gowan Ferguson) was born on March 14, 1868 in Cookstown, Ontario and died due to diabetes on October 27, 1933 in Edmonton, Alberta. Murphy married a theology student, Arthur Murphy and moved to Swan River in Manitoba where she raised her two daughters, later moving to Edmonton, Alberta. She was a Canadian women's right activist and became the first female magistrate in Canada in 1916. She is widely known for being a large contributions towards Canadian women's rights seen through the 'Persons Case'.

What She Did

Murphy started out as an author, contributing book reviews/articles to Canadian newspapers and magazines. This is where she took up the name 'Janey Canuck' and published four books. In 1916 her career path change when she accepted an offer and became the first female magistrate in the British Empire. Emily Murphy is greatly known as a person who believed that everyone (including women) should have the right to vote. On her first day as a judge, she was challenged by a lawyer who strongly thought that as a woman, she was not a person in the eyes of the British law. This led Murphy to start on a ten-year long campaign with 4 other females with the same values, creating a group called the Famous Five. These women fought to have women declared legal "people" and therefore be able to participate for appointive positions, including being an authority figure. This is known to be the 'Persons Case'.
Emily Murphy

What was Emily Murphy involved in that made her a leader?

In 1916 when Murphy was confronted by a lawyer who said that women weren't seen as people, she took initiative and spent an entire decade fighting for women to become equals. The accomplishments she has achieved throughout her life has made a huge impact on today's society. She did all of this through tremendously hard work and dedication which has inspired many in her time, as well as ours. Her achievements from being involved in the famous five have made many want to follow in her path and fight for equality, making her a leader.
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What actions did Murphy take to be seen as a leader?

Emily Murphy showed determination and passion when fighting for equality between men and women. She fought ten long years, she was ridiculed, and wasn't taken seriously, and yet, she just didn't give up. She kept fighting for feminism and eventually, through immense effort, things were looking up. A law was passed saying that the wife owned one third of their husbands possessions if he died, but the biggest thing, women were finally being regarded as people. These huge feats, again, inspired many to follow in her path, thus making her a leader.


Courage is not the absence of fear-- its inspiring others to move behind it

1. To be a leader, you must overcome all hardships and fears (even if its just a front) in order to bring comfort to others.

Murphy used this trait because, all the taunting, ridiculing, and even threats would obviously scare anyone, but she stayed tough through its all which led people to believe women are strong and if "just a women" could do it, anyone could. This inspired many to follow her because of her strength, making them feel safe.

Appearances matter-- and remember to smile

2. Appearances help people trust you. If you want to appeal to a certain crowd, dressing similar to them will make them think that you are similar to them, and have the same intentions as you.

I feel as though Murphy uses this trait, by looking at her pictures, she looks like a normal woman living at that time, she was never incredibly beautiful, or incredibly rich. She was just a normal women who got to her place solely due to the amount of effort she put in. She was a leader that rose from the normal people, and that factor helped people to trust her. The followers knew she came from the same place as then and was fighting for the same values they wanted, because she had actually been in that position.

Nothing is black or white

3. There is never one answer, thinking outside the box can end with you making a very large change in the world and helping many people.

At that time, the black and white was that men were superior to women, or men were people, women were not. This was just how things worked, yes people were upset about it, but nobody dared to change the system they knew for so long, until Emily Murphy and the Famous Five at least. Murphy thought to change the system and stop thinking in just one way, but to instead expand her way of thinking and change the world forever.


Jackel, Susan. "Emily Murphy." The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., 1 Apr. 2008. Web. 27 Sept. 2015. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/emily-murphy/>

"The Persons' Case." The Persons' Case. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2015. <http://people.ucalgary.ca/~gpopconf/person.html>.

"VIDEOSHERITAGE//MINUTESVIDEOSVIDEOSVIDEOS." Emily Murphy. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2015. <https://www.historica-dominion.ca/content/heritage-minutes/emily-murphy>