THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 6 P A R T 1 J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 8 69
By Nora Bergh and Kathryn McCready*
MAPPING HER PATH
Update: Gender Equity in the B.C. Justice System
Twenty-five years ago, the Law Society of British Columbia published a
ground-breaking report, Gender Equality in the Justice System.1 The report
examined the challenges and issues facing women in the practice of law in
B.C. and identified ways of eliminating gender biases.
The Justice Education Society of BC (“JES”) is completing a project called
“Mapping Her Path” (“Mapping Her Path”). This three-year project, funded
by Status of Women Canada, promotes the retention and advancement of
female lawyers in B.C. As part of the project, we have had the opportunity
to engage with hundreds of B.C. lawyers.
To our surprise, reactions to the project have been mixed. We have seen
enthusiasm and engagement from many lawyers in the community who
have generously given their time and support to the project. On the other
hand, we have also heard comments that question the need or relevancy of
a program aimed at resolving gender issues in the practice of law. This article
responds to a number of these comments with current statistics and provides
an update on developments occurring over the last 25 years, as well
as some current realities for women practising law in B.C.
Comment 1:Women lawyers used to have a hard time, but that was a long time
ago. It’s different now.
This is true, in part. Ask any female lawyer who practised 20 years ago and
chances are she can tell you a personal story of harassment or prejudice she
endured in her work.
* Nora Bergh is the Legal Content and Services Manager at the Justice Education Society.
* Kathryn McCready is the project coordinator for the Mapping Her Path project.