Class of 1978

I feel, as a woman, that it was difficult to practise and raise my two children. I was expected to be at school events, even if I was in a trial. The courts usually made no concessions where time was needed due to the needs of a child. I recall one trial co-ordinator asking me why a grandmother did not help out when both my children had chicken-pox. One of the children's grandmothers had died and the other worked and lived about 350 km away. It was only at that point that my request for an adjournment was taken seriously. The trial co-ordinator was a woman. On the other hand, at the end of a day in an appellate court, the woman who was the registrar commented, "It was an all-girl day today," and I realized she was right. Everyone in the room had been a woman, from judge to counsel and bailiffs. I feel things have changed, and surely accommodation of many women's reality of children and work cannot be that far off.Since graduating in 1978, I have practiced law for roughly 25 years. I have been on my own as well as in associations. I did almost exclusively litigation, mainly family law, however I also did some work in employment law, trusts law and, in my last years of active practice, I worked for Children's Aid Societies. That work meant a significant trial load, as well as some five to ten contested motions each week. Because I was senior, I carried a number of files where the parties were difficult people, and felt pressure sometimes in dealing with a caseload involving what were called "bad dads", which included some highly deviant men. In 2004, I moved to China, where I have taught in various Universities, including teaching what is known as Foreign Domestic Law to Chinese law students. I hope to carry some further courses in the 2007-08 academic year in Chinese and English as I am trying to learn Chinese, particularly Chinese related to law.

I feel that at the moment it is good to be a woman teaching in China, as many times I feel China is behind Canada in accepting that women have an equal role to play professionally. I feel I can visibly be someone who did not follow a traditional role herself and who can speak up about it here. This makes me value Canada even more. For all the negatives, there are positives, and from this remove I very much believe that Canada is progressing. I don't feel this is due to my personal actions, but arises from the work of so many women over so many years. I hope this continues, but will not be back in Canada myself for some time to come.