Tag Archives: NAWL

Gender & Law Reform; Exciting possibilities with NAWL & U of O Law

NAWL logoIf you are a NAWL (National Association of Women and the Law www.nawl.ca )supporter, you will have recently received a fundraising letter from U of O Prof Martha Jackman,  Chair of NAWL’s National Steering Committee.  It describes how NAWL and the University of Ottawa are seeking funding for a gender focused law reform clinic at the U of O. The idea is to focus on

…[M]atters related to the determinants of women’s health, covering a a range of legal issues including those arising in the context of poverty, human rights, employment, family and health law.

We envision an expert “shop” that will respond to women’s access to justice issues by providing the support and expertise needed to achieve systemic law reform remedies….offering services…such as: the provision of research, lobbying, law reform advocacy, litigation support, media and public relations campaigns, public legal education and grassroots outreach. Importantly, the clinic would also train a new generation of young lawyers.

Julie Shugarman, NAWL’s Executive Director, reminds me that the project is aspirational, but –  I don’t know – maybe that makes it even more exciting.  I’m glad there is still energy to take on these huge, necessary, projects. If you want to donate to NAWL for all the work they do, you can do so through the awesomely convenient (it seems terrible to say it, but it is convenient) Canada Helps website, here.

 

Gender and the Law Handbook now available from NAWL (Canada)

 

This Gender and the Law Handbook is now available for reading and downloading at NAWL’s website.

It aims to provide feminist and equality seeking law students with hope, encouragement and inspiration as well as with some of the tools they may need to survive law school and legal practice. 

The Manual also aims to encourage feminist students and future lawyers to think critically about the law and take action to denounce inequality and injustice. …..

[It] consists of manifestos, excerpts [from] articles and personal accounts written by 25 feminist students, professors, lawyers and activists.

The manual looks like it’s aiming to reclaim some possibly lost ground:

“Feminist” might be a description that you have avoided in the past or it may be one that you wear comfortably. Regardless, feminism is neither singular in its approach nor narrow in its scope. It has come to embrace many intersecting identities and perspectives, and bears little in common with images of the demanding, oversensitive and humourless woman simultaneously demonized and delegitimized by mainstream media and popular culture.

…..

Feminism is also a tool. It is a tool that we can use to understand, challenge and dismantle systemic discrimination in our societies. Rather than taking rights away from men in order to give them to women, feminism strives to ensure that everyone has access to the rights and opportunities available to those who are in dominant positions in society. Feminism seeks to ensure that all people are treated as equally worthy of respect and dignity.

 

I think it looks  like a helpful resource for feminist law students and so required on the radar of feminist law professors – although I really worry about the language of “surviving” law school….I’m sure I use the word in many ill-advised ways, but seeing it in print reminds me that I should be careful about not overusing the idea of “survival”.  It’s an escalation of language problem, for me anyway. Clearly not for everyone, and I certainly had moments in law school where survival seemed like the goal to aim for.  What i loved on my first quick skim:  Suzanne Bouclin’s personal and helpful “Guidelines for Feminist Legal Pedagogy”:

… my vision for feminist form and substance in law teaching and learning remains aspirational (perhaps even overly idealistic), deeply personal (these guidelines are meant as my own rules) and contextual (fluid, unfixed, tentative, and always subject to revision).

Ah, today’s lecture alone offers me rich material for self critique against Suzanne’s helpful list of principles of Feminist Pedagogy. Ouch.

Anyway: here’s the Table of Contents.  Old favourites + some new stuff:
I. Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
II. Feminism 101: Why the F Word is Still Important . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
1. Patricia Barkaskas—Where would I be without Feminism in Law School?………………………………..3
2. Pam Cross—Why we still need feminism in law school………………………………………………………….5
3. Jane Doe—Feminist Warning…………………………………………………………………………………………….9
III. Law School Curriculum: What to Expect and How to Survive In Your Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
4. Suzanne Bouclin—Some Guidelines for Feminist Legal Pedagogy………………………………………….11
5. Elizabeth Sheehy—A Feminist Take on Criminal Law………………………………………………………….13
6. Abigail Radis and Suzanne Jackman—Establishing a Student-Initiated Seminar at your Law
Faculty: Suggestions and Challenges………………………………………………………………………………….16
7. Interview with Julie Lassonde…………………………………………………………………………………………..19
8. Natasha Bakht, Kim Brooks, Gillian Calder, Jennifer Koshan, Sonia Lawrence, Carissima Mathen
and Debra Parkes—Counting Outsiders: A Critical Exploration of Outsider Course Enrollment in
Canadian Legal Education……………………………………………………………………………………………….20
IV. Involvement or Alienation: Identity, Intersectionality and the Law School Experience. . . . . . . . . . 24
9. Mari Matsuda—When the First Quail Calls: Multiple Consciousness as Jurisprudential Method .26
10. Patricia Monture—Now that the Door is Open: First Nations and the Law School Experience…..29
11. Dianne Pothier—Miles To Go: Some Personal Reflections on the Social Construction of Disability…..31
12. Kim Brooks and Debra Parkes—Queering Legal Education: A Project of Theoretical Discovery…32
V. Judging, Lawyering, Teaching, and Theorizing: A Feminist Lens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
13. Diana Majury—Introducing the Women’s Court of Canada ………………………………………………..35
14. Rosemary Cairns Way—Reconceptualizing Professional Responsibility: Incorporating Equality….38
15. Susan Boyd—Spaces and Challenges: Feminism in Legal Academia ………………………………………40
16. Cynthia Peterson—Living Dangerously: Speaking Lesbian, Teaching Law……………………………….43
17. Jennifer Llewellyn—Restorative Justice: Thinking Relationally about Justice……………………………46
Conclusion
18. Leighann Burns and Zara Suleman—Justicia in Your Face: How to Survive Law School as an Anti-
Colonial, Anti-Racist, Feminist Activist……………………………………………………………………………..48
Resources—A short collection of on-campus associations and organisations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Endnotes Please note that all footnotes referenced in the articles are provided at the end of the Manual in
the Endnote section.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52