Looking back on our careers

Here’s a Law Times article reporting on two women’s accomplishments and the paths they took to get to their prestigious positions today.  Yola Grant and Sharon McIvor spoke on the theme “What Can Feminists Do with the Law?” at the University of Windsor. (Law school was great for hearing talented lawyers impart their wisdom at no cost. I don’t know much about the law schools in Canada, but maybe I should try to see if these events are free for the general public or interested practioners.)

Grant talked a little bit about the past which I found interesting:

Grant, for example, said that when she was starting out in 1986, “women students were ignored” by labour law firms. “It was considered quite legitimate to say, ‘Why should we hire you when our carpenters or electricians are not going to want to be served by a woman.’ ” She said that has now “changed tremendously” and that updated law society rules around screening for articling students, such as appropriate interview questions by firms, “have been instrumental” in doing that.

Since I don’t know any aboriginal lawyers, I thought that McIvor’s comments were quite insightful about how her upbringing directed her to a career in law:

…Sharon McIvor, an aboriginal woman from British Columbia, said she grew up facing the taunts and slurs in a majority white culture where Indians had little means to fight back. “We had no recourse, we had no way to redress it at all,” she said. “It was just a way of life.” Not surprisingly given her outspoken nature, “I came out of it fighting” and chose law to advance native and women’s rights.

I don’t have much of a career to look back on yet, but I hope that one day I can look back and see my career path more clearly.  I would like to see what motivated me and encouraged me, what made me passionate about my work, and maybe the daily grind that I go through now can be distilled into a sum that is greater than its parts.

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