"Our Nell"

Image of Nellie McClung
Nellie McClung
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Women are going to form a chain, a greater sisterhood than the world has ever known.

(Nellie McClung, 1916)

Members of the Herstory Collective, past and present, all have favourite women or topics. but one woman we all find interesting is Nellie McClung (Herstory 1974)--she could even be called our "matron saint."

When we need a good quotation, Nellie always comes through.

Born in Ontario, she came west as a child when her family decided to homestead southwest of Brandon, Manitoba. She trained as a teacher and taught in rural schools before marrying Wes McClung, her life partner and supporter. Nellie had an abiding Christian faith, which gave her a deep belief in social justice, and was a life-long member of WCTU. She was prominent in the suffrage movement in the west and campaigned her whole life for women's rights.

Nellie was a well-known novelist, essayist and speaker. Frequently asked to give lecture tours in Canada and the United States, her astute commentary combined with sharp wit and a highly developed sense of timing served her well on the lecture circuit.

Nellie served one term in the Alberta legislature, but found the constraints of party politics difficult. She was one of the "famous five" and was the first woman on the CBC board of governors.

Never retreat, never explain, never apologize--get the thing done and let them howl.

The whole race is suffering from masculinity and man and woman are alike to blame for tolerating it.

Chivalry is a poor substitute for justice, if one cannot have both.

The reason we have the spectacle of nations settling the disputes of the world in the old barbaric way is because the world is suffering from too much masculinity.

Let us tell the people we meet, that there are girls working in our cities for six to seven dollars a week. Let us spend a little time figuring out what a girl can live on in decency--we will find it more than double that sum.

The Woman Movement, which has been scoffed and jeered at and misunderstood most of all by the people whom it is designed to help, is a spiritual revival of the best instincts of womanhood--the instinct to serve and help the race.

For generations women have been thinking, and thought without expression is dynamic and gathers volume by repression. evolution when blocked and supressed becomes revolution.

Women who place a low value on themselves make life hard for all women.

The world has taunted women into marrying.

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