Margaret Mary Speechly was born at Neston, England on May 21, 1896. She came to Manitoba in 1902 with her mother, Mary Barrett to join her father, Dr. Henry Martindale Speechly who had moved to Pilot Mound, Manitoba in 1901. She graduated in home economics from Manitoba Agricultural College. On November 14, 1925, she married Edmund John Stansfield (1891-1959).
She worked as an editor for the Grain Grower’s Guide in the 1920s, and later became a pioneer in the consumer rights movement, being honoured by the Consumers Association of Canada in 1976 for her work. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Manitoba (1977), received the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977), and was given the YWCA Woman of the Year Award (1979). She died at Winnipeg on June 3, 1990.