Gender Equality and Lawyers Work: Education as a Strategy for Change in the Legal Profession?

Posted: 12 Jun 2001

See all articles by Mary Jane Mossman

Mary Jane Mossman

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School


In the 1993 report, Touchstones for Change, the Canadian Bar Association's Task Force on Gender Equality in the Legal Profession (chaired by former justice Bertha Wilson) identified problems of inequality for women in the Canadian legal profession. Among other recommendations, the Task Force suggested that the profession should provide continuing "remedial human rights" educational programmes for lawyers until these norms "form the basis of a common understanding" within the profession. For several years between 1994 and 1997, I designed and implemented gender equality seminars for three major corporate law firms in Toronto, and offered these seminars to groups of their lawyers on more than 40 occasions. In previous work on this subject, I have reflected on the pedagogical challenges of gender equality educational programmes in the law firm context (Onati proceedings: 1999), and the extent to which the history of women's entry to the profession did not fundamentally challenge its gendered norms. In this paper, I assess how educational programmes must confront directly the nature of legal work and its increasing "asynchronisity" (Franklin The Real World of Technology) in order to contribute to a strategy of gender equality goals in the legal profession.

Suggested Citation

Mossman, Mary, Gender Equality and Lawyers Work: Education as a Strategy for Change in the Legal Profession?. W.G. Hart 2001 Legal Workshop. Available at SSRN:

Mary Mossman (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

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