By Tannis Waugh
There is a real possibility that the number of women representatives at the Law Society’s Convocation will be reduced in this year’s Bencher election.
To give you a sense of the voices that Ontario’s women lawyers will be losing at Convocation, the following Benchers will not be returning to Convocation:
- Beth Symes
- Constance Backhouse
- Susan Hare
- Linda Rothstein
- Adriana Doyle
- Jennifer Halajian
Only 15 of the 48 candidates running in Toronto are women and only 15 out of the 47 candidates running outside of Toronto are women. Currently, Ontario’s women lawyers are represented by 15 women Benchers.
It’s not just an issue of candidates. In the last election, only 34% of eligible women voted compared to 38% of eligible male voters.
Having women’s perspectives well represented at Convocation is important. The policies and decisions made at Convocation have wide ranging impact on women lawyers ranging from access to justice, retention of women in the profession, pregnancy and parental leave policy, the challenges faced by racialized to support for women solo practitioners and articling.
We encourage you to make your voice heard. Voting is open until April 30, 2015.
Tannis Waugh is a Barrister and Solicitor in Toronto. She is a real estate contributor to the Toronto Lawyers Association journal and is a 2015 Bencher Candidate.