WLMP and #LawNeedsFeminismBecause Announce Official Collaboration

The Women’s Legal Mentorship Program is proud to announce that we will be collaborating with the #LawNeedsFeminismBecause 2017 campaign. Both organizations share the goals of improving gender equality and diversity in the law, as well as the retention of women in the profession. WLMP is excited about the partnership and the opportunity to continue the conversation about and spark change in feminism and the law.

The McGill-based campaign, led by Rachel Kohut, expands nationally this year. The #LNFB team will host a national conference at McGill in March 2017 during the week of International Women’s Day. imageLaw faculties across Canada will simultaneously run their own campus campaigns that will include the signature #LNFB photo project, along with other local events.

At the conference in March, WLMP will lead an interactive workshop on feminist mentorship. The WLMP University of Ottawa chapter is teaming up with the #LNFB uOttawa Organizing Committee to lead the campaign on campus. #LNFB will be represented at the WLMP Legal Leaders Breakfast on September 30, 2016 in Ottawa to kick off the joint campaign.

The #LNFB uOttawa Organizing Committee is led by uOttawa law students Pauline Vengeroff, Marie-Charlotte Beaudry, Zaynab Al-Waadh and Sarah Quayyum. For information about the uOttawa #LNFB campaign, contact Zaynab Al-Waadh zalwa081@uottawa.ca

For more information regarding WLMP’s collaboration with #LNFB, contact communications.wlmp@gmail.com

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Still Confused About Mansplaining?

Mansplaining is more than a buzzword. The word is descriptive and explains itself. The primary purpose behind mansplaining is to silence a person.

Maybe you’re doubting the reality or frequency of mansplaining, or you’re wondering if there’s any science to back up this phenomena. If so, then check out this video produced by Upworthy showing not only some of the various mansplaining techniques, but also the frequency in which women are silenced from classroom spaces, to office spaces, to traditional media and social media and onwards.

Next time you receive some mansplaining, you may want to consider explaining to them how disrespectful it is to all people.

Creating a Team of Mentors that Fits Your Career Goals

Supreme Court of CanadaOne of the best things a law student can do is to create a team of mentors. A diverse cross-section of mentors offer a law student, new graduate or junior lawyer with valuable guidance, wisdom, support and connections. Having one mentor is invaluable, but having a team of mentors can ensure that support is available at different times and in different ways. Especially, when those barriers that women in the law face present themselves.

How do you create a team of mentors?
First start with existing mentorship programs. If you are a law student at a university with a WLMP Chapter, all you have to do is sign up to have access to a legal mentor and a peer mentor.

Existing mentorship programs, like the WMLP, provides a ready-made connection with both a lawyer in the community and an experienced law student. Both forms of mentorship are excellent support mechanisms for navigating the challenges presented by law school and a looming career. A female legal mentor can help extend your network. Having strong female peer and legal mentors will also help you feel less isolated in the law.

There are also existing mentors built right into the law school itself – professors! If you have a professor that is inspiring, or who does work that really interests you, or who approaches the law from a framework that resonates with you, then that professor may make an excellent mentor.

Reach out to a professor who you connect with. Take advantage of their office hours, ask them questions after class, apply for a research position they are offering, or ask if they have research or other projects that you can get involved with. Developing a mentorship relationship outside of the classroom is helpful when you have a question or a problem that isn’t related to the coursework. That professor will also get to know you better, which means they will better be able to write reference letters for you when you need them or assist you as you start out on your career path.

Don’t overlook your classmates. Each law student comes to law school with their own backgrounds and experience, which means your peers are a valuable resource. Having a trusted mentor among your peers also means you have a safe space to work through ideas together and collaboratively. Peer mentors don’t always need to have the answers – sometimes you can work with a mentor to arrive at the answer together.

Finally, be sure to recognize when you have an informal mentor in your life. There will be times when you have a formal mentor, such as when a mentor is assigned to you at your workplace, whether you are in a firm, government department, inhouse counsel office, public interest or not-for-profit organization. However, there may also be someone in your life who takes the time to check in with you and offer support when you need it.

That person could be an Associate at the firm you are summering at, an experienced lawyer at the government agency or organization you are doing an internship at, or a friend who took a non-traditional path to their legal career. If that person is offering informal guidance, recognizing that person as a mentor will allow you to nurture and develop the relationship. 

If you take the time to develop a number of mentorship relationships, you will soon find yourself supported by a team of mentors. These mentors will guide you in different ways and through different approaches, helping to champion you in your career.

#LawNeedsFeminismBecause… #LeDroitABesoinDuFéminismeCar…

If you haven’t checked out the Feminist Collective of McGill Law’s latest photo campaign #LawNeedsFeminismBecause / #LeDroitABesoinDuFéminismeCar, then you really should.

Sajeda-#LawNeedsFeminismBecause project
Sajeda,Feminist Collective at McGill Law project

In 2014, the Feminist Collective of McGill Law held its first photo campaign focusing on why people self identify as feminist, which was featured in the HuffingtonPost.

This year’s photo campaign explores feminism at McGill Law school by looking at why law needs feminism. According to the project website, “over 30 participants finished the sentence ‘law needs feminism because / le droit a besoin du feminisme car’ and lined up one by one for their portrait to be taken by professional photographer, Whitney Lewis-Smith.”

We think this is a great project and we hope that all lawyers, law students and feminists help spread the awareness of why the #LawNeedsFeminismBecause /#LeDroitABesoinDuFéminismeCar .

Click here to check out the #LawNeedsFeminismBecause / #LeDroitABesoinDuFéminismeCar project.

At Western University tomorrow? Checkout Cultures of Sexual Violence led by Constance Backhouse

Professor Constance Backhouse, will be speaking on the Cultures of Sexual Violence as part of Western University Women’s Studies and Feminist Research Winter Speakers’ Series on Thursdconstance_backhouse March 3rday, March 3, 2016 at 4:30 PM in  P& AB -106 (Physics and Astronomy Building) at Western University.

Professor Backhouse holds the positions of Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa.  She is internationally known for her feminist research and publications on sex discrimination and the legal history of gender and race in Canada.  A legal scholar who uses a narrative style of writing, her most recent books and articles profile the fascinating ways in which women and racialized communities have struggled to obtain justice within the legal system.  To learn more about Professor Backhouse click here.

If you are in London and able to go, we highly recommend attending. If you can’t go, then please share the information on this fantastic event.

Need a Western University campus map to point you to the Physics and Astronomy Building click here.

Just need a map of the Physics and Astronomy Building then click here.

For more information on Western University’s Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research and their events click here.