CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Voting - A Man's World?

History, English Language Arts, Political Studies
2 lessons
To gain an understanding of the fight for women’s suffrage in Canada
Students present a simulated interview outlining how women gained the right to vote.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Explore with students what is meant by traditional roles of women and men. Encourage them to comment on their observations of how these roles evolved. Some students may offer their own experiences with gender discrimination.

Indicate to students that the role of women in our culture has significantly changed over the years. A prime example of this is that women did not always have the right to vote.

Outline the Opportunity


Direct students to the topic Voting in Canada: How a Privilege Became a Right on the CBC Digital Archives website. Have students work in small groups to review the clips "McClung's 'mock parliament'", "Quebec women and the vote", "'A moral obligation'", "Miss, Mrs., or nothing" and "Appenzell women finally get the vote".

Ask students to take notes on how women gained the right to vote. Have students work in groups of four to create a simulated interview with Nellie McClung after the 1914 mock parliament in Manitoba. Students should each be responsible for creating at least two questions and two answers. Questions should include information about why she believes women should vote and how she intends to support women in this fight to gain the right to vote. Each group will present its interview to the class.

Revisit and Reflect

Invite each group to present its interview to the class. What insights have students gained about Nellie McClung? Why do they think the mock parliament was successful?


Students can respond to the following statement in a short, persuasive essay: "Women's suffrage would be a retrograde movement...it will break up the home". Students should support their positions with evidence, including information from the CBC Digital Archives website and any other source they choose. Remind them to cite all sources.

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