Snapshots Then and Now: Feminism and the Law in Alberta


  • Annalise Acorn



The pioneering efforts of women such as Emily Murphy in Alberta during the early part of this century effected legal change and altered women's lives. Women began to see the law as a vehicle for social change, entitling them to property and giving rise to new expectations that a world of "true happiness" would emerge. However, this time also saw the beginnings of fractures and divisions in the modern feminist movement based on race, class and sexual orientation. Late twentieth century feminist theory has, in part, been an attempt to overcome theoretical imperatives of universalism (the nature of mankind) and essentialism (features common to all women), with mixed results. Nonetheless, the failures of feminists in this area who have acted at cross-purposes do not erase the successes in the same project and the influence felt at the University of Alberta.