Shirley E. Greenberg Receives Friend of the WLMP Award

WLMP/PMDFThe Women’s Legal Mentorship Program (“WLMP”) marked the completion of its 5-year pilot project by recognizing trailer blazers and emerging legal leaders at the annual WLMP Legal Leaders Breakfast hosted by the WLMP’s uOttawa Chapter.

Shirley E. Greenberg is the first recipient of the Friend of the WLMP Award. This award recognizes a WLMP legal mentor, ally organization or supporter for their dedication to women’s legal mentorship and work to increase the retention of women in the law.

Shirley E. Greenberg is a trailblazer. Her legacy of both advocating for and supporting women’s organizations across Ontario has improved the lives of countless women.  She is a strong feminist advocate, who recognized early on the need for programming that directly addresses the issue of women and their legal careers.  As a result, she championed women’s issues and supported programming aimed at increasing the role of women in the law.” says Charlotte Wolters, Founder of the WLMP.

In addition to the Friend of the WLMP Award, Alexandra (Sasha) Toten was awarded the WLMP’s Emerging Legal Leader Award. The WLMP Emerging Legal Leader Award is bestowed on a WLMP Alumna for her ongoing dedication to upholding WLMP mentorship principles and her dedication to the retention of women in the law.

Since graduating from law school and the WLMP Program, Ms. Toten continues to mentor women in the first years of their law careers.  She is also a registered WLMP Legal mentor as well as volunteering on the Executive of the Young Women in Law (YWL), in addition to practicing law at Minden Gross LLP in Toronto.

“It’s wonderful to see what started as thought experiment really take off.  With the completion of the WLMP’s 5-year pilot project, the WLMP Board is hoping to expand. Given the access to justice issues, it’s more important than ever to ensure that women continue their legal careers. Addressing this issue needs to start at the law school level. WLMP Alumna like Ms. Toten are an example of how the WLMP’s unique programming offered in law schools can help female law students take on mentorship and leadership roles beyond the classroom and into practice.” says Ms. Wolters.

The WLMP also announced the creation of its Founder’s Award, which will be bestowed in 2017 and also the WLMP Peer Mentor award, which will be awarded to a WLMP student mentor next year.

The WLMP — the first of its kind in Canada —  is a national not-for-profit that aims to shift the culture of the legal profession and increase the retention of women in the law by helping female law students and WLMP Alumna develop their mentorship and leadership skills and establish networks that grow with them throughout their legal careers from the classroom to the courtroom and beyond.

In 2011, the WLMP piloted its first university Chapter at the University of Ottawa. Currently, the WLMP is working to partner and expand its program to other Canadian law schools.


Don’t Worry You’re Not An Impostor. You’re just Great!

We hear a lot from women about how they feel like they’re impostors. That they feel that someone will find out they are not real. But that’s not true.

In the late 1970s, psychologists coined the term “impostor syndrome” to refer to the inability of successful high achievers to acknowledge and internalize their accomplishments. These same people believe and live in constant fear of the discovery that they are a fraud. While impostor syndrome is gender neutral, it undermines people of all genders.  However, women are more likely to suffer from it.

That’s why we’re pleased to stumble across a article on the topic.  It’s a great article outlining what is impostor syndrome. The article points out that people who suffer from this syndrome are more likely doing a great job.

The article also notes that women are less likely to talk about their accomplishments in comparison to men. To that we say, “toot your own horn!”

It’s about time we end the myth and  long-held belief that “nice women” don’t toot their own horn. Men have and do talk about their accomplishments with great regularity, and they’re rarely, if ever, socially or professionally penalized for this.

The fact is tooting your own horn isn’t bragging or humble bragging, it’s just stating the truth and celebrating your achievements.

This week go out and admit to your awesomeness! If you don’t, no one else will.  Start putting a dent into impostor syndrome effect. Also, we encourage you to read the article “Is imposter syndrome a sign of greatness?” by clicking here.




January 28th A Landmark Day for Canadian Women and the Law

Today, 100 years ago Canadian Women got the right to vote and 28 years ago they got the right to decide what happens to their bodies.

Why care about what happened 100 years ago?
On January 28, 1916, Manitoba became the first province to grant Canadian women the right to vote. This started a movement, which lead to Canadian women getting the right to vote across Canada.

Today, we give little thought to women’s suffrage and the role the right to vote plays in women’s lives. But imagine a time when women’s voices and representation at city hall, the provincial legislature and parliament depended upon how their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons voted. This is the world women such as Nellie McClung lived in.

For women and other equality seeking groups, the right to vote was, and still is in some countries, the first step towards achieving equality. Enfranchisement, or the right to vote, equates having a say in who sits at the legislative table and makes decisions about you.

Did you know…

  • While Manitoba’s women were the first women allowed to vote in provincial elections, women in Quebec had to wait until 1940 before they could vote in a provincial election.
  • Although Canadian women were granted the right to vote in federal elections in 1918, Aboriginal women had to wait until 1960 before they could vote in a federal election.

Why care about what happened 28 years ago?
“To be able to decide what to do and how to do it, to carry out one’s own decisions and accept their consequences, seems to me essential to one’s self-respect as a human being…” — Wilson J. in  R. v. Morgentaler

On January 28, 1988, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in R. v. Morgentaler. In a 5-2 majority, the Court held that the Canadian Criminal Code‘s prohibition against abortion violated s.7 of the Charter which protects the life, liberty and security of the person.

Every first year constitutional law student has read these words. For today’s readers, the right to security of the person and being able to make your own decision about your body seems common sense. But when Justice Bertha Wilson, the first female justice appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, wrote them it was groundbreaking.

Where to now?
Equity, representation and the granting of rights under the law doesn’t just happen because it’s 2016. It takes the tireless work of courageous women and their allies. It takes being resilient in the face of daily setbacks.

So, if you have only five minutes today, then take a moment to thank all those pioneering Canadian women. Then take another five minutes to reflect on what you want Canadian women to celebrate in 100 years from now. Where do we need to go now to further equity for all?