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Emily Murphy, Women are Persons

Decade for Women


Emily Murphy, Women are Persons



Date of Issue

April 17, 1985




Postal Administration



Decade for Women

Series Time Span


Perforation or Dimension



Ashton-Potter Limited.


Designed by Ralph Tibbles Based on illustrations by Muriel Wood

About Stamp

The Decade for Women, proclaimed by the United Nations to eliminate discrimination against women, will end in 1985. Canada has made progress in enhancing the status of women, particularly at the constitutional level. Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which enshrines equality rights, will come into effect on 17 April 1985. This milestone is a monument to the work of Canadian women such as Thérèse Casgrain and Emily Murphy, both of whom are commemorated on postage stamps in this final year of the Decade. Emily Murphy was born in Cooksville, Ontario. Already well-known for her novels written under the pseudonym Janey Canuck, she was appointed judge of the Edmonton Women's Court in 1916. She thus became the first woman magistrate in the British Empire. However, a British common law ruling stated that women were persons in matters of pains and penalties, not in matters of rights and privileges. Some argued that this prevented her from becoming a magistrate. The Alberta Supreme Court nevertheless upheld her judicial authority. Later, Murphy and four other feminists requested a clarification of the law that excluded women from the Canadian Senate on the same grounds. They won their court action, better known as the "Persons Case", in 1929. The principal design elements in each of these stamps are portraits of Thérèse Casgrain and Emily Murphy, with background sketches indicating the principal concerns of their active careers. Muriel Wood is the talented portrait artist; Ralph Tibbles is responsible for art direction and typography.
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Similar Stamps


Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1985.

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