Emily Murphy

"Whenever I don't know whether to fight or not, I fight"

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"I believe that never was a country better adapted to produce a great race of women than this Canada of ours, nor a race of women better adapted to make a great country."


1. A part of establishing "The Married Women's Protective Act" (1911)
  • This created rights for wives to have part ownership of their husband's property and children in case of abandonment

2. First women to become a magistrate in the British Empire (1916)

3. Created the "Persons Case" with five other women and were known as the Famous Five (1928)

Emily Murphy was a campaigner for social welfare of women and children. She was a tough, determined and hard working individual who achieved many rights for women and children.

From her many accomplishments, Emily was selected from people across the nation to become Senate. In order to become the Senate they needed to be a person, but according to the British North America Act of 1867 at the time women were not considered a "person". This meant Murphy was not able to run for Senate because she was a women.

For these reasons, Emily decided to create a petition called the "Persons Case" for women to be known as a person and able to become a Senate. She recruited four other women (Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney and Irene Parbly) who also were strong willed women that fought for the rights of women. Together, these five women were also known as the "Famous Five" for their victory while representing the entire nation of women's suffrage.

Leadership Traits

Lead from the front- but don't leave your base behind

Emily Murphy was a very hardworking individual that worked with many other strong willed women to accomplish rights for women. For twelve years she has been fighting for women to be known as a "person" in Canada. With the opportunity to become Senate but then getting rejected, she made the "Persons Case" to speak for all women across the nation. Emily stood up and fought for not only the women that wanted to be a part of the government but for all women because they should be respected. Prior to the Persons Case, Murphy fought for women when she could; with the case she gave all women a voice that may have helped her achieve that possible Senate position. Therefore, she remembered where she came from and fought for them as well.

Nothing is black and white

After the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the Persons Case, the Famous five did not give up; they found another way to victory. Later, the women took the case to the highest court at the time; the British Privy Council where they reversed the rule in 1929. Instead of giving up after rejection, they had determination to get the case approved.

Appearances matter- and remember to smile

While Emily Murphy established women rights organizations, she was just a determined women who wanted equality. Emily did not portray her self as a higher status but as an image others could relate to. By acting this way, it shows there is someone who cares and is determined to make a change. Also, it inspired women to stand up for what they believe in because they see someone like them who has accomplished and succeeded.


"Emily Murphy." The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/emily-murphy/>.

"Famous 5 Foundation." The Famous Five. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <http://www.famous5.ca/index.php/the-famous-5-women/the-famous-5-women#emily-murphy>.

"Heritage Minute." Emily Murphy. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2015. <https://www.historicacanada.ca/content/heritage-minutes/emily-murphy>.