Calgary

Women's groups celebrated at Calgary gala marking 100 years of suffrage in Alberta

A group dedicated to empowering women in leadership honoured 100 women's organizations at a gala in Calgary last night to mark the centennial anniversary of women's suffrage.

'I'm certainly grateful for the women throughout our history who made their voices heard,' says Lt. Governor

Alberta's Lieutenant Governor, Lois Mitchell, says it's important for women to support women. (Kate Adach/CBC)

A group dedicated to empowering women in leadership honoured 100 women's organizations at a gala in Calgary last night to mark the centennial anniversary of women's suffrage.

Alberta's Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Lois Mitchell, gave the keynote address at the Canadian Federation for Business and Professional Women gala.

She said women have been able to advance when they work together and support each other.

"I'm certainly grateful for the women throughout our history who made their voices heard," she said. 

Most women gained the right to vote in Alberta in 1916 — although it wasn't until 1965 that First Nations women and men could vote in the province.

Alberta was the third province to allow women to vote, after Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Quebec did not allow most women full voting rights until 1940.

'Grit and determination'

Also speaking at the event was Alberta's Minister of Status of Women, Stephanie McLean.

"Alberta and the Prairies were at the vanguard of change, as we are in Alberta today," she said, referring to the fight for suffrage. 

"Suffrage came because of grit and determination — those are good Alberta women descriptors — and a willingness to fight for a cause and change."

Nancy Stapley was in the audience to support the 100 organizations being honoured. She said it's not just about what the organizations do, but about celebrating them. 

"There's something really strengthening in that for women, knowing they have that kind of support," she said. 

Mitchell agrees. 

"I do feel women have to support other women the way men support other men," she said.

With files from Kate Adach