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.


#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.

International Women’s Day — A Time to Celebrate Women You Know

Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day where we can celebrate how far we’ve come and also thank those women who inspire us to keep going.

There is a lot to celebrate. Canadian women are considered persons thanks to Edwards v Canada (Attorney General), [1930] AC 124 , 1929 UKPC 86. More women enrolled in post secondary institutions. Canada’s federal government leadership reflects the diversity of Canada.

But it’s also important to remember how far we still have to go. Women are still paid less in Canada. Globally the chore gap is not narrowing fast enough and women still suffer disproportionately merely because they are women.

The Canadian Criminal Lawyers Association released its report on the retention of women in criminal practice. The news isn’t good. It’s true that the legal profession has a long way to go to ensuring female lawyers are treated respectfully, paid equally and systemic barriers barring women from continuing to practice are removed.

Change is hard and it doesn’t happen overnight. It means working collectively to overcome the barriers that are holding women back.

With so much work still to do it’s equally important to celebrate those women who continue to inspire you. If you have just 3 minutes today, then consider thanking a woman who inspires you.

Tag a woman or women you know on social media who inspires you. Spread the word about how great they are by using the hashtag #IWD2016

Happy International Women’s Day to all the WLMP Participants, legal mentors and supporters. You inspire us every day. Thank you!

Have You Seen the Viral Ad Urging Partners to #ShareTheLoad?

If you are thinking we’re talking about legal partners, then you’ll be disappointed. We’re talking about life partners and the growing conversation about the chore gap.

The chore gap. Melinda Gates has shed light on the inequality faced by women on the home front. The Atlantic magazine covered the topic. We even blogged about it and linked to the Atlantic article on February 24th.

Now BBDO, a global advertising firm, which was apparently the inspiration for Mad Men and is known for its forward thinking ads, has gotten on board. Their Mumbai office decided to reflect the chore gap issue in their laundry detergent ad and promote gender equity at home through their #ShareTheLoad hashtag.

The laundry ad shows a father watching his grown daughter come home from her full-time job, make supper, take care of her son while her partner watches TV. The father reflects on how both he and society contributed to creating the chore gap.

Since the ad aired, it has gone viral. To view it just click on the video below.

Putting aside the criticisms of consumerism and social issue based marketing, this ad campaign does raise the issue of the chore gap and its roots. That’s why we’ve posted this ad.

March is Women’s History Month. The issue of the “chore gap”  is strongly intertwined with women’s history. It’s one of the systemic barriers to women’s careers and progress.

As lawyers and future lawyers, women often come face to face with the chore gap early in their career. In the face of these pressures, the reaction of many will be, “Just hire help. As a lawyer you can afford it.” However, that’s a myth. Canadian law school graduates are incurring huge debt. Just read the Law Students’ Society of Ontario (LSSO) report. This makes hiring help an impossibility for some young women lawyers in their early phase of their careers.

The pressures faced by women on the home front is undeniable. There is an impact on women’s career paths as they juggle their “chores” and their careers. Work life balance isn’t just about having down time to decompress from your busy career. Work life balance is an equity issue.

We encourage everyone to keep the chore gap conversation going at home and at work.

Have You Checked Out Your Profession’s Mentorship Programs?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou don’t have to be part of a big law firm to find a mentor. Although the WLMP focuses on mentorship and leadership program at the university level and uses a specific mentorship method, we spend a lot of time assessing the various legal mentorship programs.

We found there are a lot of mentorship programs that lawyers can access. Pretty much every professional law association has a mentorship program.

Recently the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) is boosting its mentorship opportunities. On Friday, February 26th, FACL will be holding its mentor-a-thon, to be hosted at the Toronto offices of Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

To read more about FACL’s mentorship program check out Neil Etienne’s Canadian Lawyer Magazine article click here. If you are looking to register for FACL’s Toronto event click here.