In North America and Western Europe in the later half of the 19th century, women began to campaign in earnest for the right to vote. At this time women were second-class citizens. The 1870s were the start of the movement in Canada, but there were few Canadians that supported the women’s right to vote. Two of the groups that lead the way in Manitoba were the Icelandic feminists and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). The Icelandic women had settled near Gimli. These women established the first suffragette associations.
At its height, the Quebec General Strike in the spring of 1972 was the largest strike in North America’s history. The strike, which involved over 250,000 public and private service workers, was a very important moment in Quebecers’ self-determination and struggle for rights. Planning of the strike had been in motion since 1970, when Quebec’s three main union federations held joint meetings to discuss ways in which they could work together to address common struggles. At the time, many of Quebec’s working class felt disenchanted with and ignored by the government.