Saturday's Child: Memoirs of Canada's First Female Cabinet Minister

By Ellen Louks Fairclough
Introduction by Margaret Conrad

© 1995

Ellen Fairclough is perhaps best known as the first woman in Canada to become a federal cabinet minister. John Diefenbaker appointed her Secretary of State in 1957. In the course of her career she also served as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Minister responsible for Indian Affairs, and was in charge of the National Gallery, the National Film Board, the Dominion Archives, and the National Library. She was also a chartered accountant, a business woman, a local politician in Hamilton, and a wife and mother. At a time when many people believed that a woman's place was in the home, she successfully balanced family obligations with a career in the largely male world of federal politics.

Writing with the style and wit for which she was famous as a politician, Ellen Fairclough, now ninety, tells her story. Her reminiscences describe her early life, her efforts to become a business woman, and her experiences as a Progressive Conservative member for the constituency of Hamilton West (1950-63). Fairclough discusses the political factors that led to her appointment to the Diefenbaker cabinet, as well as other factors, including family values and the opportunities available in the bustling industrial city of Hamilton, that served as the context for her successes. While her story focuses on the politics involved, Fairclough also writes extensively about family life, friendships, and domestic detail. She attributes her success to the fact that she was a 'Saturday's child' who worked hard for what she achieved.

The source of much media attention during her political career, Ellen Fairclough was often the only woman in a room full of men and, on one occasion, was asked to leave a cabinet meeting because the topic of discussion – sexual assault – might be too rough for her sensitive ears. Having no female role models to follow, Fairclough made her own rules and charted her own course. These memoirs make a fascinating contribution to the history of women and politics in this country.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 252 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
Product Formats

SaveUP TO 9239

Book Formats

SKU# SP004900

  • PUBLISHED DEC 1995

    From: $15.71

    Regular Price: $20.95

    ISBN 9781487598426
  • PUBLISHED DEC 1995

    From: $16.46

    Regular Price: $21.95

Quick Overview

This volume entails the reminiscences of the first woman in Canada to become a federal cabinet minister, Ellen Fairclough.

Saturday's Child: Memoirs of Canada's First Female Cabinet Minister

By Ellen Louks Fairclough
Introduction by Margaret Conrad

© 1995

Ellen Fairclough is perhaps best known as the first woman in Canada to become a federal cabinet minister. John Diefenbaker appointed her Secretary of State in 1957. In the course of her career she also served as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Minister responsible for Indian Affairs, and was in charge of the National Gallery, the National Film Board, the Dominion Archives, and the National Library. She was also a chartered accountant, a business woman, a local politician in Hamilton, and a wife and mother. At a time when many people believed that a woman's place was in the home, she successfully balanced family obligations with a career in the largely male world of federal politics.

Writing with the style and wit for which she was famous as a politician, Ellen Fairclough, now ninety, tells her story. Her reminiscences describe her early life, her efforts to become a business woman, and her experiences as a Progressive Conservative member for the constituency of Hamilton West (1950-63). Fairclough discusses the political factors that led to her appointment to the Diefenbaker cabinet, as well as other factors, including family values and the opportunities available in the bustling industrial city of Hamilton, that served as the context for her successes. While her story focuses on the politics involved, Fairclough also writes extensively about family life, friendships, and domestic detail. She attributes her success to the fact that she was a 'Saturday's child' who worked hard for what she achieved.

The source of much media attention during her political career, Ellen Fairclough was often the only woman in a room full of men and, on one occasion, was asked to leave a cabinet meeting because the topic of discussion – sexual assault – might be too rough for her sensitive ears. Having no female role models to follow, Fairclough made her own rules and charted her own course. These memoirs make a fascinating contribution to the history of women and politics in this country.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Heritage
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 252 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Ellen Louks Fairclough (1905-2004), was a Member of Parliament for Hamilton West (1950-63). She was the first woman ever to serve in the Canadian Cabinet and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1995.



    Margaret Conrad is professor emerita in the History Department at University of New Brunswick.

By the Same Author(s)