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She Pushed From Behind:

Emily Murphy in Story and Song

"Nothing happens by chance, everything is pushed from behind." (Emily Murphy)

photo of Ruth

Ruth Stewart-Verger

photo of Teresa

Teresa Healy


The Show

Stories and songs celebrating courage, tenacity and dreams. Stories and songs questioning policies and practices. Stories and songs demonstrating the energy and persistence of a person who changed the country we live in today.

Originally performed at the Library and Archives of Canada for the International Woman's Day celebration 'She Pushed From Behind' tells the story of Emily Murphy in word and song. This is a story of her life, and the changes she wrought on the Canadian social and legal scene. Emily Murphy had a dramatic effect on life in Canada today. She was an author, a prohibitionist, the first female magistrate in the British Empire, and a reformer of hospitals, institutions and prisons. She was a most determined woman.

Emily's first foray into the political world was to protect women's property rights. She successfully championed the Dower’s Act 1911 and the Married Woman’s Act 1911. In 1929, Emily and a group of her friends (The Famous Five) were successful in having women recognized as 'persons under the law' in Canada. The Person’s Case Decision, October 18, 1929 changed laws throughout the British empire.

Both Ruth Stewart-Verger, a seasoned teller, and Teresa Healy, a singer-songwriter, researched Emily's writings and legacy. They weave together the various threads of Emily Murphy in story, music, and original songs telling her life story, its challenges, achievements and contradictions.

  Past Concerts:  

Emily Murphy...
CUPE National Researchers (June 9)
Yarker Tea Room (June 27)
Winchester United Church (July 8)
Library and Archives Canada (August 22)
Trent University (September)
Algonquin College (November 1)
Ottawa Storytelling Festival (November)

The Famous Five show:
Library and Archives of Canada (October 18)
After the performance of this show at the Library and Archives of Canada on Monday October 18, 2004...

Frances Wright, founder of the Famous Five Foundation, invited Ruth and Teresa to be her guests at the 25th Anniversary Governor General's Awards in Commermoration of the Person Case. After the ceremony, Frances presented a copy of their CD to Adrienne Clarkson, the Governor-General, and the six other women who, with Frances, received the Persons Award on October 21 at Rideau Hall.

In the words of the Governor-General, "That our society took so long to formally recognize the full humanity of women is sad and ridiculous; that the full participation and emancipation of all women, of all backgrounds, has yet to be achieved is a great national challenge."

The 2004's Governor Generals' Persons Awards recipients are: Allison Brewer, Iqualuit; Lea Cousineau, Montreal; Huberte Gautreau, New Brunswick; Bonnie Sherr Klein, British Columbia; Chi Nguyen, Ontario; Rosemary Speirs, Ontario; Frances Wright, Alberta.


Contact Information:

Ruth Stewart-Verger e-mail to:

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