“First, we must try to move society and families off the unrealistic, outmoded, and unfair assumption that only women should bear the lion’s share of responsibility for child care. Second, we must address the demands and structure of the workplace, to bring it into closer harmony with the reality of the modern world [to] allow more flexible working arrangements for parents of both sexes ....”
On Friday, January 27, 2006 the CBABC WLF hosted its first Signature Event, with The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, PC, Chief Justice of Canada as the keynote speaker. The luncheon became a “hot ticket item” - and the sold out crowd of 360 was joined by many notables including the Chief Justice’s husband Frank McArdle, her lawyer sister Judi Dalling, Grammy and Juno Award winning singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan, Attorney-General Walley Oppal, Chief Judge Hugh Stansfield, law school Deans Bobinski and Petter together with Madam Justice Anne Rowles who warmly introduced her colleague from their B.C. Bench days together.
To frame her address, the Chief Justice adopted a Globe and Mail editorial question: “to what extent are professions alienating talented people… because the corporate culture expects them to have no family life and no responsibilities that work obligations cannot trump?” The Chief Justice noted that twice as many women as men continue to leave the practice of law. However, inspirationally, she addressed the path to resolution this way: “We must not accept the status quo as the only quo. Rather, we should face the issue of the home-workplace interface with understanding, compassion, and imagination.” The challenge is there for all of us to put our hearts and minds to.
– Written by Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, QC, Past President of the CBABC and Past Chair of the CBA National Women Lawyers Forum.