The first woman elected as a member of General Synod was Miss Inez Smith. Miss Smith was elected as the lay representative of the Diocese of Caledonia to the 1924 General Synod. Synod refused to allow her to sit. The Prolocutor of General Synod, the Very Rev. John P. Llwyd, gave the following “Ruling, re Admission of Women to the Lower House”.
The language of the Constitution rendering it necessary to determine whether male or female persons, or both, are intended:
1. It is certain that only men were in contemplation when the law was made:
2. It is equally certain that women would not have been included had the point arisen:
3. It is a principle of legal interpretation that in questions of doubtful terminology, regard should be had to the intention of those making the law:
The Chair therefore rules that until the General Synod positively enact otherwise, women are not entitled to membership in the Lower House”. [General Synod (10th). Journal of Proceedings. 1924, p. 56]
In 1943 the Constitution of General Synod was changed to allow the election of women delegates. The resolution stated that:
“Women who are eligible as members of a Diocesan Synod shall be eligible to represent said Synod in the Lower House”. [General Synod (15th). Journal of Proceedings. 1943, p. 55]
In 1946 Mrs. Madeline (Robert E.) Wodehouse, national president of the Woman’s Auxiliary (who lived in Ottawa), was appointed lay delegate for the diocese of Yukon and took part in Synod.
In 1955 the first women delegates were elected and participated fully in General Synod. They were Miss (Annie) Grace Hutchings (Diocese of Toronto) andMrs. Kathleen A. (Adeline) Cowaret (Diocese of Yukon). Miss Hutchings had a long career of volunteer involvement in the Anglican Church of Canada and died in 2003. Mrs. Cowaret (sometimes known as Mrs. Alex Coward) was active in the Diocese of Yukon especially with Anglican Church Women (ACW) and died in 1958.
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