The fight for women’s rights took place in a time of great change. Revolutions in politics, economics, philosophy, and social structures opened people up to ways of new thinking.
The Victorian Era (1837 – 1901)
Industrial and social revolutions led to many improvements in the everyday quality of life for many people. Laws were enacted to protect against child labour, doctors and dentists began regulating the use of new medicines and anesthetics, and great cultural works like Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities were written. It was in this time that Nellie McClung was born.
The Modern Era (1901 – 1945)
Although Nellie witnessed a lot of social change prior to the turn of the century, she is considered by many to be one of the catalysts for much more, in the period leading up to the World War I. Between 1900 – 1950, the Canadian political landscaped changed significantly. Women and other minorities were awarded the right to vote and run for office. Many families were left struggling by the stock market collapse of 1929 and the following Great Depression. Although those years were tough, they also inspired some of the most enduring works of literature in the 20th century, including John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
By the time of Nellie’s death in 1953, she had witnessed monumental changes in the lives of all women in Canada.