"Humanity's future is inextricably linked to the everyday efforts of women
in their communities. It is imperative that we pool our strengths and
resources to ensure they are fully empowered to be the leaders."
Canadian history records that, in 1900, one woman made an enormous difference to the scope of humanitarian charitable work in Canada and the British Empire. Margaret Polson Murray was fifty-five years old when her clear vision, strength and determination began a monumental movement to form the Federation of the Daughters of the Empire, today known as IODE. She was a renowned social reformer and community leader who gathered the strength and resources of women across Canada and the Empire to unite their patriotism with the purpose of prompt and united action during the time of the Boer War.
Mrs. Murray's greatest contribution, as secretary of the Federation, was during the summer of 1900 when she created a significant, time-consuming body of work. She formulated the foundation of IODE by writing not only a detailed Constitution for the organization outlining its aims and structure but procedures for meetings, advice on how to form new chapters and suggestions for new projects to undertake. By making connections with women and patrons, writing as many as five hundred letters a day and sending innumerable cables and postcards, her hard work resulted in enormous impact and changed the way our society responds to assisting individuals in need in the areas of educational programs, community services and citizenship projects.
"The purpose of a woman's life is to make the best possible contribution to
the generation in which she is living", so said Louise McKinney, one of
Canada's Famous Five.
While the foundation of IODE is clearly defined in writing, our structure is made up of women in chapters who contribute to their communities and support the ideals of our Founder as they volunteer to make a difference to Canadian society.
In order to ensure the future of IODE, we must examine the history lesson of Margaret Polson Murray. That is, we need to make connections and seek ambassadors for IODE. This is the key to our future. Each member must promote the fact that IODE is needed in today's society more than ever and that, collectively, we must develop strategies to invite women of all ages to join IODE to carry on the legacy of Margaret Polson Murray
What was true in the early part of the 20th century is certainly true today.
National President IODE Canada
Founders Day Message - February 2012