A poster child for women’s rights

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/06/2017 (1989 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In the spotlight of Canada’s 150th anniversary, a Southland Park woman has won a national competition reflecting on the history of women’s voting rights in Canada.

Kristen Braun, 21, has won first place in the senior art category of Historica Canada’s “Votes for Women!” contest. Braun’s poster, titled Lady Justice Demands the Vote, placed first in the 19 to 29 art category, and bears the slogan “Nice women don’t want the vote, they deserve it.”

According to a news release, the national contest asked Canadians aged between 10 and 29 to create a written or artistic submission reflecting the history of women’s suffrage in Canada. The contest honours the long fight for equal voting rights for women and minorities across Canada, organizers say. The contest received nearly 350 entries from young Canadians. Braun’s prize includes $500 of gift cards from several Canadian companies.

Simon Fuller Kristen Braun, 21, holding a hard copy of her contest-winning poster.

Braun, who recently graduated from the University of Manitoba with a bachelor of science degree and will start medical school in August, said her winning entry was inspired by the irony of Lady Justice, the personification of morality, being unable to vote before the advances of women’s suffrage.

“Lady Justice is classically depicted holding scales, which are balanced to represent gender equality,” Braun said, adding her design was also inspired by the Statue of Liberty. “So, it’s ironic that themes of justice and equality were depicted when women weren’t allowed to vote.”

Braun said the slogan on her poster was inspired by a line from Manitoba Premier Rodmond Roblin in 1914, who famously said “nice women don’t want the vote.” Braun added the words “they demand it” to Roblin’s line to give her design both linguistic and artistic impact.

As history shows, Roblin was subsequently defeated, and the suffrage movement that campaigned against him achieved its goal of securing voting rights for women. On Jan. 28, 1916, Manitoba became the first province to pass into law the right of some women living in Manitoba to vote.

With the landmark 100th anniversary of this law coming last year, and with Canada’s 150th anniversary being celebrated this year, Braun said now is an appropriate time to reflect on historical, cultural, and social issues that pertain to the nation.     

“The laws affecting Canada’s women have come a long way in the last one hundred years,” Braun said.

“As a white woman living in Canada, I have benefited from this, but society’s treatment of women, as well as minority groups, still has a long way to go. I’m hoping this contest will bring a little bit more attention to an important issue at an important time.”

“I’m certainly glad to live in Canada, and there are many things about it that makes it a great country. But there is still a long way to go, especially in terms of the treatment of our First Nations people, which doesn’t get enough attention. Overall, though, Canada could be a whole lot worse and I have a lot to be grateful for,” she added.

Simon Fuller Kristen Braun said the slogan on her poster was inspired by a line from Manitoba Premier Rodmond Roblin in 1914.

In terms of her artistic background, Braun has always been interested in art, but only started creating digital pieces two years ago.

“My dad is an art teacher, so I’ve definitely grown up with an artistic influence at home, and I’ve kept it up as a hobby since high school,” Braun said, adding she feels ecstatic and humbled to win the contest.

“It feels especially good as I feel so passionate about women’s rights.”

Go online at www.historicacanada.ca for more information.

Simon Fuller

Simon Fuller
Community Journalist

Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at simon.fuller@canstarnews.com or call him at 204-697-7111.

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