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Shannon Lecture #3: “Feminism and the Supreme Court: How the first two women appointed to our Top Court widened judicial debates.”

November 8, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Location:252 MacOdrum Library
Cost:Free
Audience:Anyone

Room 252 MacOdrum Library starting at 1:00pm followed by a reception at 2:30pm.

poster with same details as written in website textAbstract

Dr. Backhouse will discuss Bertha Wilson and Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, the first two women appointed to Canada’s top court (1982 and 1987 respectively) who are the subjects of her recently-published Two Firsts.  Despite completely different backgrounds and personalities, the two women found their paths strewn with virtually identical blockages throughout their years in law school and law practice; as women judges, they were frequently mocked and repudiated.  Throughout their careers, they met the sexism they experienced with courage and fierce tenacity, and their achievements have given them the stature of “icons” in Canadian women’s history. This presentation will ask challenging questions about their perspectives on feminism and race, in an effort to reconsider what full “diversity and inclusion” might encompass.

Speaker Bio

Constance Backhouse is Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa, who teaches and researches in the areas of legal history, criminal law, human rights, feminism, and critical race theory.  Her writing attempts to document historical efforts to dismantle discrimination on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, disability, and sexual identity.