Ruth Houck (1894-1979)
After being denied the right to vote for centuries, some Canadian women still didn’t cast their ballot. Ruth Houck was determined to change that.
While born in Wisconsin and educated at Cornell University, Houck spent most of her life in Ontario. In Peel, she lived on a dairy farm near Derry West, now northern Mississauga. She was intensely focused on getting rural women to participate in democracy. Many thousands of rural women were empowered by her work as “citizenship convener” for the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario. She also developed programming for the Institutes’ national-level organization. Houck would prepare reading lists and curriculum for the groups around the country, and tour as a speaker.
Ruth Houck served on numerous boards, including the CBC. She ran as the Liberal candidate for Peel in the 1953 provincial election. She was the first woman in Peel to get a party nomination for MPP or MP. Soon after, she was chosen as one of Canada’s five delegates to the United Nations General Assembly, making her the fifth Canadian female to serve in that role.