The centennial milestone of women's right to vote in Manitoba is being celebrated at two Winnipeg museums, with about 100 students getting the chance to meet prominent women, including former prime minister Kim Campbell.

The students were chosen from school divisions in southern Manitoba to attend the events, which take place at the Manitoba Museum in the morning and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in the afternoon.

The Manitoba Museum has developed an exhibition called Nice Women Don't Want the Vote, which outlines the causes, contradictions and people of the suffragist movement.

The CMHR has several exhibits about women's rights, including one that displays a briefcase owned by the first woman elected to political office in Canada — Louise McKinney of Alberta.

The students are touring exhibits, participating in programs and meeting leaders like Campbell and Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon.

Other leaders taking part include:

  • Gail Asper, president of the Asper Foundation, which spearheaded the establishment of the CMHR.
  • MLA Myrna Driedger.
  • Women's rights and LGBT rights advocate Jodie Layne.
  • University of Winnipeg Prof. Leah Gazan.
  • Forks-North Portage vice-president Clare MacKay.
  • World Trade Centre CEO Winnipeg Mariette Mulaire.
  • Muslim leader Shahina Siddiqui, president of the Islamic Social Services Assoc.
  • CMHR CEO Gail Stephens.
  • City of Winnipeg universal design co-ordinator Judy Redmond.

On Jan. 28, 1916, Manitoba became the first province to pass legislation that enshrined women's right to vote and hold elected office.

It started a domino effect across the country, as one province and then the next introduced women's suffrage. Two years later, the bill giving woman the right to vote was passed in the Parliament of Canada.

However, many women — including indigenous women — were not able to vote until decades later.

"The women who first won the right to vote did not consider that as the end — not by a long shot," Filmon said.

"Throughout their lives, Nellie [McClung] and the other women worked to bring about improvements for women. They knew they were taking part in a struggle that would take generations. They knew that women who were still not born would need to take up the banners."