Women in today’s society may not realize how far women’s rights and independence has progressed over the past century. Working women in the early 1900s were often expected to work low paying jobs, obey parental authority, and contribute to the family income and house-work. However, many acts of rebellion during this time hinted that social reform was beginning in Canada. Montreal in 1918 saw the traditional role of women being challenged. Many working-class girls marked adolescence with an increased sense of independence and sexual experimentation. Families reacted with alarm, outrage, and fear at the rapid societal change. As a result, hundreds of “delinquent” women were brought before Montreal’s Juvenile Delinquent Court. The role of this court was to regulated the social, moral, and sexual lives of the working class.
To learn more about Montreal’s Juvenile Delinquent Court, check out “The Voluntary Delinquent: Parents, Daughters, and the Montreal Juvenile Delinquents’ Court in 1918” from the Canadian Historical Review. #tbt