Category Archives: What we’re thinking/reading/doing (IFLS blog)

What’s interesting these days?

Twitter Roundup for those who don't do Twitter: Opportunities, Tips, Cases, Law Schools….

speakupWith thanks to the wonderful people who tweet out these gems for me to collect, and a special note for the always interesting and now much more active site “run by a group of Law Professors from the University of Ottawa…to share information about equality-related news and initiatives here at the Faculty of Law and in the broader community, as well as to disseminate our research and views on current issues.”.  On twitter at @blogforequality.   Go and have a look.


Law Schools

Tools, Tricks, Tech

Gender Representation

Fiona de Londras ‏@fdelond2 Oct  See work of my colleague @erikarackley for much more on this // Lady Hale ‘disappointed’ at lack of female judges 

LEAF National Breakfast in Toronto

Ont. HR Commission ‏@OntHumanRights9 Oct

October is Women’s History Month. Watch OHRC’s YouTube video about the first Black woman in parliament. #WHM 


David Cameron: ‘I am a feminist’ | Politics | The Guardian  hmmm.

Conferences (past)

Gender&SexualityLaw ‏@GenderSexLaw5 Oct  Missed #queerdreams conference? Video of plenaries and audio of all panels is here: …


Caselaw & Controversy

ReValuingCareNetwork ‏@ReValuingCare8 Oct Gender abortion not illegal, says top prosecutor: Starmer says nothing in law prevents a woman…  via @MailOnline

Court dismisses lawsuit over Arizona’s “race- and sex-selective” abortion ban 

Farrah Khan ‏@farrah_khan8 Oct  Afternoon read: SALCO report Who, If, When to Marry: The Incidence of Forced Marriage in Ontario  #forcedmarriage

Kyle Kirkup ‏@kylekirkup7 Oct   “Transforming Sentencing? Gender Identity, Prisons, & Cdn Criminal Law” (my first contribution to @blogforequality): …

South Africa Constitutional Court Declares Portions of Statutory Rape Laws Unconstitutional 

Steph Guthrie (@amirightfolks) argues that online misogyny isn’t just deserving of a response–but rather demands one Globe and Mail Series on Sexual Assault

Farrah Khan ‏@farrah_khan7 Oct  Important read re: how Canada’s sex-assault laws violate rape victims – The Globe and Mail   [Kirk Makin Article]

brenda cossman ‏@BrendaCossman8 Octmy thoughts on what’s wrong with sexual assault laws 

[Also in the series David Butt, Courts are Failing victims of Sex Assault: Here’s how to fix a broken system]



 ♥ students.Yesterday, listened to engaged talkative 1Ls on judges role in democracy. Today, fab ideas of #osgoode SJDcand @estair Thank You!

IFLS Graduate Student Visitors: Preet Virdi & Salman Rana

Osgoode IFLS is currently hosting two visiting graduate scholars, Preet Virdi and Salman Rana.  Both have offices in the IFLS Nathanson Suite (third floor faculty wing).  You can reach them c/o Lielle Gonsalves,

The Institute is delighted to welcome Visitors to the law school.  Visitors are usually at Osgoode for 2-5 days, although longer and shorter visits can be negotiated with the IFLS Director.  To contact the IFLS about a possible visit, please email the Institute’s Administrative Assistant, Lielle Gonsalves at  More information about Osgoode’s visitor programs (and link to application form) here.  For information about the Barbara Betcherman Distinguished Visitorship, please click here.  Osgoode’s Visitors program is generally described here.  Osgoode Hall Law School’s main page is here.  York University’s main page is here.  Come yourself or tell your interesting feminist friends to come and visit.

Preet in London 2012Preet Kaur Virdi’s research concerns the socio-legal status of non-Western women in Western legal jurisdictions. She has an interest in non-Western conceptions of ethics, feminist legal studies, as well as socio-legal theories such as legal consciousness and legal pluralism. Preet is currently a PhD candidate in the School of Law at SOAS in London, United Kingdom. Her doctoral dissertation concerns the South Asian conception of honour, izzat, in marriage and dissolution practices amongst Sikhs in Ontario, Canada.  Through an examination of strategies employed to diminish the shaming effect of marital breakdown, Preet’s thesis exposes the intrinsic link between ethics and law in super-diverse and transnational societies.


Prior to joining SOAS, Preet completed her Master’s degree in Socio-Legal Studies from York University in 2010. Her master’s research project entailed primary research with immigrant Sikh women about access to justice in Ontario. She published her results in the Journal of South Asian Diaspora in 2012. She was the UK research assistant to the project ‘Jewish and Muslim Divorce in English Courts’ at University of Ottawa in 2011, and in 2012, Preet was research assistant for the UK country team for RELIGARE ‘Religious Diversity and Secular Models in Europe: Innovative Approaches to Law and Policy’ at Queen Mary, University of London.




Salman Ylook Rana is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School (’05) and a doctoral candidate at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. His work explores the intersection of musical youth subcultures, law and normativity in both state and non-state/unofficial contexts. He currently lectures on youth cultures and the sociology of law at UOIT, where he has also lectured classes on law and social change and legal research methodology. His broader legal research interests intersect with his interests in undergraduate legal education, critical legal pluralism, social theory, subcultures, childhood, poverty, critical race theory, ethnomusicology, Islam and international human rights.

Before graduate work, Salman articled with the Ministry of The Attorney General’s Office of The Children’s Lawyer (Ontario) and as a field researcher in Kampala with the Ugandan Law Society. He is an active member of Toronto’s Hip Hop community and is a founding member of the artist collective, The Circle, along with artists Kardinal Offishall and Saukrates, et al.

Shannen and Malala: girls on the front line in fight for equal education


shannen-speaks-nfbMalala Yousafzai Opens Birmingham Library

When you need inspiration and courage or reminding that age is nothing but a number, or if you  have been already been captivated by Malala, please take a look at the work of Shannen Koostachin, a Mushkegowuk Innanu from Attawapiskat, Ontario.

Listen to them tell you in their voices what they dream of (click Malala’s picture for a CBC Radio interview with her, watch the video of Shannen speaking at a news conference in Toronto, 2008 – she must be 13 or 14 in the video).

Learn more  about Shannen, who died tragically in 2010, and how others are carrying forward her struggle, at the website of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, here.   You might also consider documentarian Alanis Obamsawin’s recently released Hi-Ho Mistahey (2013), which follows Shannen’s Dream.  Click here for information about the film from the Toronto International Film Festival website.

For more about Malala, and to support her cause, see the Malala Foundation here.

Here is a piece about Shannen and her fight, made for an awards ceremony held after her death.

She wanted to become a lawyer.


They were right/ when they said/ we should never meet our heroes

Maybe it is true that we should never meet our heroes, – or maybe we need to be  our own heroes.  Have a look at this great piece by Amna Quereshi, recent Ottawa Law grad,  in the Toronto Star.   I can’t say that I was at all surprised or any further disappointed by former Justice Claire L’Heureux-Dubé’s position on the Quebec Charter of Values, but I think that Amna’s piece exposes some of the reasons that we could be surprised.  I’m glad Amna had a chance to meet the judge, and to revise her impressions.  Lionizing judges is one way of coping with law school (remember all the love for Denning?) but it can be a very tricky business.  Especially when they are still out there, saying things.

Standing beside you, I felt a great sense of connection and shared passion for the law, equality and justice. I remember this meeting so clearly and often look back on it as a pivotal moment in my life — a symbol of how far I have come. You see, having been born and raised in rural Alberta with parents who had emigrated from Pakistan to give us a better life, I faced tough odds to get to where I am today. I have fought against oppression for much of my life and feel that I thrive in spite of it even today.Given all this, I was confused and shocked to read that you consider the complete face covering for Muslim women a sign of “oppression” and believe that explicit rules, entrenched in legislation, on what is unacceptable in the name of secularism will ensure that immigrants “become like us.”

via Retired Supreme Court justice wrong to endorse Quebec values charter | Toronto Star.


Need something to read? Twitter Roundup Part II


@JillFilipovic 18 Sep  In the @munkdebate feminist universe, all the men are obsolete and all the women are white.  

@MacleansMag 19 Sep Canada rejects UN rights panel call for review of violence on aboriginal women   #cdnpoli


UK Judge Rules Defendant Must Remove Niqab to Testify | Dressing Constitutionally for @robsonconlaw analysis & precis


New in print [NIP] : Choudhury on #Governance #Feminism & #Afghan #Women

‏Sep Fascinating and splendid. @PaulbernalUK mix of law, levity & analysis: Disney princesses, on-line identity & privacy  

Not so Academic 

@rgay 13 Sep Today at The Rumpus, Lizzy Acker writes about abortion in one of the most compelling ways I’ve seen;  

RT @Longreads: “Portrait of a Ten-year-old #Girl.”   cc: #statisticsbroughttolife

@balkissoon 19 Sep By me, in the Globe: stop bossing pregnant women around. Right now.  

Life and Law

#Lawstudents don’t disqualify yourselves! why not read: The #Habits Of Supremely #Happy People

“Busy” Is Not a Badge of Honor via @lifehacker: We need to work smarter, not harder