The Reality: One Person Can Make a Difference.

The statement “understand […] how the neoliberal adage “it takes one person to make a difference” is a lie. Loretto’s book, Take Back The Fight, is upheld by countless examples of the victories women have won by banding together and fighting for themselves. The simple explanation is that if someone can help one person whose rights are being violated, it has made a difference, but if the same thing is happening again and again, it means the core problem isn’t solved.

Women banding together, forming alliances and movements, begin to cause problems for men in power, forcing their voices to be heard. There are examples of people who have inspired others to make a difference, but their direct hands were not the only ones involved in the changes that were made. One person can’t change the laws on behalf of a community, but one person can inspire a movement, and it is impossible to ignore an entire community forever rather than one person. Organizations like the National Council of Canadian Women (NCCW), Knights of Labor, and National Action Committee (NAC) are all good examples of how women have come together and fought for their rights and won.

Without the help of the organizations and the people within them, not one member would have been able to make the difference they did when bonding together. It is men’s mentality that keeps them in power; men were the only ones who had the power to change how societal views and laws changed. It was almost like women were proving their worth to men and their philosophies inspired women to have a me-first mentality. Emily Murphy is an example of someone who stood out and made a difference. Even though she was a huge influence, she couldn’t have been able to make any difference if she didn’t know the people she knew who also belonged to the upper-class society.

Emily Murphy was white, racist, ableist, and from an upper-class environment; all the requirements to be a “good face” to listen to in the late 1800s. She understood she deserved rights and she didn’t extend her ideology to all women; just the ones that looked like they belonged in society. Murphy spent several years alone studying to change the situation that women like her faced every day, and later began approaching feminism with her own philosophy. Emily’s work led her to achievements that would lead her towards a magistrate position for the women’s court.

A lawyer, Eardley Jackson, challenged her appointment as a judge because he argued, that women were not “persons” under the British North America Act. The judge overruled objection of Jackson and all the objections afterward. On October 18, 1929, the Privy Council decided that women were “persons”. Murphy may have been an accomplished leader in getting women to be constituted as people, but she had a philosophy that would later lead to fighting for drug criminalization that specifically targeted immigrants, which still forms the basis for Canada’s drug policy to this day.

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