Women (over 50% of the Canadian population) were excluded from the negotiations that created Canada in 1867 and have been fighting the laws, government, and political system ever since for the basic democratic right to vote, to hold office, and to participate equally in public life. In 1970, the Royal Commission on the Status of Women highlighted the problems of inequality women face and made over one hundred recommendations to rectify them. In the following decades, women fought to ensure the provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply equally to males and females, participated in Constitutional debates, and First Nations women continue their struggle for human rights within self-government. Women are still, in the 21st century, underrepresented in Canadian government and politics. This undermines the democratic principles of our electoral and political system.
NOTE: The general sources for contemporary Canadian Government and Politics covered in the main portion of this guide should also be used for this topic. The more specialized sources listed here provide additional information.