Saskatchewan Women in Education: 1910s

Preference for hiring male teachers over female teachers was revealed in a letter written to Miss Evelyn J. Simpson by W. McQuay, secretary treasurer of the Tuxford School District No. 2486:

“We were very disappointed to learn that you were a female teacher, whereas our advertisement was for a male teacher. There was nothing in your first letter to indicate that you were anything but a male teacher. True you signed (Evelyn), but boys and girls are both named Evelyn. The board has decided under the circumstances that your application is unsatisfactory.”
  • In response to continuing preference of some trustees to choose male teachers, in 1915, women teachers of Saskatchewan came together to form the Saskatoon Women Teachers’ Association (SWTA). By 1918, with Victoria (Tory) Miners as president, the SWTA became the largest teachers’ local in the province of Saskatchewan. Tory played a vital role in changing the status and working conditions of teachers in Saskatchewan, making her area of focus equal pay for women.
  • In 1916, the Superannuated Teacher Association was founded by Emma Stewart and Flora Henderson.
  • The extensive impact of World War I, 1914-1918, profoundly changed the composition of Saskatchewan teachers. As women entered the classrooms, they were issued provisional teaching certificates to overcome the shortage of male teachers who joined the Canadian army.

Victoria Miners, an active member of the SWTA in its early years, was also involved with the founding of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. She is shown here (front row, second from right) at the founding meeting of that organization.