It was a sea of pink on October 11, 2012 at Winnipeg’s historic University of Women’s Club, as women from across Manitoba gathered to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of The Political Equality League. This event was hosted by the Nellie McClung Foundation as one of the legacy celebrations that lead up to celebrations for Manitoba women getting the vote in 1916.
Nellie McClung and her peers started the league as a way of advancing the rights of women – a dangerous business as Myrna Driedger pointed out. According to Driedger, who spoke about the successful efforts of the Political Equality League, Pink Teas were held by women at the turn of the century when they needed to meet in secret to discuss radical issues such as the vote for women. In the event of a potential confrontation, they were able to swiftly turn their conversations to polite discussions about non-controversial issues such as complimenting one another’s hats, or calmly sipping tea and nibbling on little sandwiches. “Thanks to their work, today we don’t have to have such discussions in secret” said Driedger, “a fact for which we can be grateful.”
This is the second Pink Tea held by the Foundation in appreciation of loyal supporters – many of whom have volunteered their time, and donated to the campaign to create a monument in honour of Nellie McClung. Women,representing media, government, fundraising, education and the corporate community have contributed to the successful establishment of the monument on the legislative grounds but the Foundation Board said that their work is not finished. The Board, Lila Goodspeed, Doris Mae Oulton, Bette Mueller, Darlene Cole and Kristen Lynch, shared the plans and activities about the evolving work of the organization in educating the public and students about the Nellie McClung legacy, and the establishment of a number of bursaries and awards in Nellie’s honour.
The Foundation was also pleased to have the event coincide with the International Day of the Girl – a day to promote the equal treatment and opportunities for girls around the world in areas such as law, nutrition, health care, education, training, and freedom from violence and abuse.