A range of creative individuals and innovative groups engaged in
social change, feminism and cultural production contribute to various phases of this interdisciplinary project on law, helping shape the project's methods, inquiry
and artistic form.
c.j. fleury's art has evolved from drawing, performance and shield making, to several large scale public sculpture commissions in
Quebec and Ontario, including Ottawa's "Women's Monument Against Violence". For the last decade, her work has focussed on the marginal area of
collaborative practice and stretching public models of creative action involving non-art communities. Her projects have been taught and researched in universities
in Canada and the States. She has been invited to present these models through symposiums, The Ontario Arts Council, Community Arts Ontario, The National (US) Women''s Caucus for Art, The Canada Council, The Art Gallery of Ontario and SOLON
Elizabeth Sheehy is the Shirley Greenberg Professor in Women and the Legal Profession at the University of Ottawa, where she teaches in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, and women and the law. Her research and writing focuses on the law of rape, self-defence for battered women who have killed their mates, and equality theory. In her spare time she tears around after her eight-year-old daughter and tries to squeeze in time to work on the TEMPLATES for Activism project on art, feminism, and law.
Feminist Law Community
is an "ousider" community in relation to law. Women were excluded from law in Canada historically and thus could not make law as legislators, vote for representatives who passed the laws, or act as lawyers advocating for particular legal intepretations or law reform. However, while women were not "persons" for the purposes of holding elected office, voting, or practicing law, we were, of course, recognized by law for the purposes of criminal prosecution and responsiblity. The first women in Canada to force their way into the bar were white women. They lost their court cases, but managed to persuade provincial legislatures to pass specific laws permitting women to be called to bar. Clara Brett Martin became a lawyer in 1892 in Ontario; Mabel
Penery French was called in New Brunswick in 1907. In Quebec women were not called to the bar until 1941. Aboriginal and racialized women entered the
profession much later, only as other racist barriers were surmounted. For example, in British Columbia, people of Asian descent were excluded by the Law Scoiety
until the 1940s.
Women's numbers within the law schools and legal profession have climbed, such that in 2003, women represent over 50% of the first year
class in many law schools across Canada. While women represented approximately 30% of the profession in 1996, we have continued to leave the profession at a higher
rate than men. The feminist presence within the law schools and profession has also grown, and many women students come to law school with visions of social
justice and the work that they want to pursue using law.
The feminist law community are those activists, lawyers, law students, professors, judges,
femcrats, artists, and others whose common commitment is to advancing women's equality and challenging racism, poverty, homophobia, and disabilityism. Activists
have a background in areas such as research, education, sociology, criminology, linguistics, writing, film or publishing, rape crisis centres, women's shelters,
victim and prisoner support groups, poverty and human rights. We are a community that is fluid and inclusive, as we move in and out of law and legal engagement,
and as we puruse political commitments, personal lives, and professional goals. We have coalesced and worked together as feminist activists and lawyers,
translating activism and women's grassroots anaylsis into law, sometimes with great success: to achieve the entrenchment of women's sex equality rights in the
Charter of Rights and Freedoms; to demand a feminist law reform of rape law, "No Means No", after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a law that
aimed to prevent the cross-examination of women who report rape regarding their past sexual histories; to argue before the Supreme Court in the sexual assault
prosecution of Archbishop O'Connor that an order requiring wholesale disclosure of the personal, medical, and counselling records of the young Aboriginal women who
accused him of assaulting them would be to engage in race and sex discrimination as well as perpetuating the practices of colonization; and to instigate the Self
Defence Review, a judicial inquiry into the convictions of women who allege that they killed violent men in self-defence.
The National Association of Women and Law (NAWL) is a Canadian non profit women's organization promoting the equality
rights of women through legal education, research and law reform advocacy since 1974. Recognizing that each woman's experience
of inequality is unique, due to systemic discrimination related to race, class, sexual orientation, disability, age, language and other
factors, NAWL is committed to working collectively, and in coalition with other groups to dismantle barriers to all women's equality.
In NAWL's view, a just and equal society is one which values diversity and is inclusive of it.
Contemporary Artists interested in feminist law
Artists seen in Template Two and Poetry, work in diverse forms such as traditional oil painting, drawing and sculpture, sound art,
installation, performance art, music and writing. Both poets have a background as lawyers and have won awards for their poetry, MTC
Cronin having specialized in feminist jurisprudence, now teaches writing and is working on her doctorate, Poetry and Law:
Discourses of the Social Heart, at the University of Technology.
e-magination design ltd.
Angie MacDonald’s website development and design skills, combined with her previous experience in legal education and work in the social services
sector, continue to contribute to the creation of the TEMPLATES for Activism
Project Supporters and Advisors
The many individuals and organizations who have given financial, advisory and energetic assistance to this project.
Interested in becoming involved, contact ... c.j. fleury