Museum Chat Live! E103 – International Women’s Day!


E003 – International Women’s Day

Today, on March 8th, we honour International Women’s Day. It is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements and contributions of women. It is also a moment to reflect on how much work there’s still left to do in order to reach full gender parity and equality in our society.

For 2017, International Women’s Day is calling for us to #BeBoldForChange. To be leaders within our spheres of influence and take the action needed to break down barriers and lift women up.

The St. Catharines Museum has taken up the call to #BeBoldForChange by bringing attention to the gender gap that has existed throughout our history. We have gathered a number of wonderful women from the St. Catharines community to read a select essay written by turn-of-the-century activist and suffragette, Lillian Phelps.

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Ms. Lillian (“Minnie”) Phelps

Born in St. Catharines in 1859 and educated at the Philadelphia School of Oratory, Lillian Phelps dedicated her life to public activism. She was heavily involved in the work of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association. Phelps served as an influential lecturer and travelled across North America spreading the messages of temperance and women’s suffrage.

In this special Museum Chat Live! International Women’s Day episode, we bring to life the words of Lillian Phelps by reading her 1890 essay, “Women as Wage Earners.” This essay, published in Woman: Her Character, Culture and Calling (edited by B. F. Austin), makes the urgent call to establish equal work opportunities, equal pay, and a voice for women. These are messages that still resonate today, in 2017.

By having women of today reading Phelps’ words, her voice can be heard again – as loudly and clearly as ever.

Please listen, share, and #BeBoldForChange! Happy International Women’s Day!


Special Thanks to Our Readers…

Alicia Floyd
Brenda Schultz
Valerie Chalmers
Deb Bernat
Ruth Unrau
Jess Clark
Kathleen Powell
Sara Nixon

and to Julie Rorison for her help in organizing readers.


1 – You can read along with the readers online. Find Lillian Phelps’ article as Chapter 3 in Woman: Her Character, Culture and Calling (edited by B. F. Austin), page 51-55.

2 – One chart, on page 52 was not a very ‘readable’ chart, and so we decided to not have it read, along with the preceeding paragraph that sets it up:

“Take again the progression of dress making as an industry, and compare its relative value to that of the brewers and distillers. In 1885 the returns from the census of 1881 were as follows:”

3 – Find out more about International Women’s Day and #BeBoldforChange at

4 – Find out more about our the local Women In Niagara organization on their Facebook



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