To Be Equals in Our Own Country
232 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
12 b&w photos, 7 illustrations
Release Date:01 Feb 2020
Release Date:15 Mar 2019
Release Date:15 Mar 2019
Release Date:15 Mar 2019

To Be Equals in Our Own Country

Women and the Vote in Quebec

UBC Press

“When the history of suffrage is written, the role played by our politicians will cut a sad figure beside that of the women they insulted.” Speaking in 1935, feminist Idola Saint-Jean captured the bitter nature of Quebec women’s fight for enfranchisement, as religious authorities weighed what they stood to gain or lose and politicians showed open disdain during debates in the Legislative Assembly.

Most Canadian women had gained the right to vote by the end of the First World War, but women in Quebec had to wait until 1940 or longer to cast a ballot in their own province. This passionate yet even-handed account retraces the journey from the infancy of democracy in Lower Canada to the Women’s Suffrage Act in 1940 and beyond. It examines the influence of the Quebec national question on women’s struggle for the right to vote, and looks beyond national borders to compare their efforts with those in Europe and the United States.

This astute exploration of resistance and momentum toward women’s suffrage in Quebec treats enfranchisement – and the legal, social, and economic rights that stem from it – as a fundamental question of human rights.

To Be Equals in Our Own Country is the third volume in a seven-part series on the history of the vote in Canada. The Women’s Suffrage and the Struggle for Democracy series serves as a timely reminder not to take political rights for granted.

As the first overview of developments leading to Quebec women’s suffrage, this book will have broad appeal to Canadian readers interested in their own history, as well as to students and scholars of women’s history and political history.

An original and comprehensive history of women’s diverse struggles leading up to and following the fight for suffrage in Quebec told with skill and clarity. Bettina Bradbury, author of Wife to Widow: Lives, Laws, and Politics in Nineteenth-Century Montreal
Baillargeon’s brilliant synthesis of the suffrage movement in Quebec is an essential introduction to one of the most influential social movements in Canadian history. Dominique Clément, author of Equality Deferred: Sex Discrimination and British Columbia’s Human Rights State, 1953–84
Denyse Baillargeon invites us to do far more than rediscover the triumphant campaigns for women’s right to vote in Quebec: she offers readers a nuanced understanding of what drove many to fight for this right, and others to resist it. Just when you think you know it all, you find out there’s more to learn! Josée Boileau, author, journalist, and political commentator
Denyse Baillargeon is a professor of history at the Université de Montréal. She is the author of several historical studies in French, translated as A Brief History of Women in Quebec (2014), Canadian Historical Association Clio-Québec prize winner Babies for the Nation: The Medicalization of Motherhood in Quebec, 1910–1970 (2009), and Making Do: Women, Family and Home in Montreal during the Great Depression (1999). Käthe Roth has been a literary translator, working mainly in historical non-fiction, for more than twenty-five years.


1 Pioneers of Suffrage

2 Giving Women a Voice

3 Broadening the Struggle

4 Winning the Provincial Franchise

5 Reaching for Representation


Sources and Further Reading


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