Transcript: Lawyering and the Feminist Revolution | Aug 30, 2017

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a gray blazer over a white shirt.

An animated caption reads "TVO, Canada 150, Ontario 150."
Then, it changes to "Lawyering the feminist revolution. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says IN 1969 WHEN LINDA SILVER
DRANOFF ENTERED OSGOODE HALL LAW
SCHOOL, SHE WAS ONE OF THE FEW
WOMEN IN A MALE-DOMINATED FIELD.
OVER HER NEARLY 40-YEAR CAREER,
THAT CHANGED DRAMATICALLY, WITH
WOMEN LIKE HER PLAYING CRITICAL
ROLES IN CHANGING THE PROFESSION
AND THE LAW.
HER BOOK,
FAIRLY EQUAL:
LAWYERING THE FEMINIST
REVOLUTION,
OFFERS A FRONT-ROW
SEAT TO THAT SHIFTING WORLD, AND
IT BRINGS LINDA SILVER DRANOFF
TO OUR STUDIO TONIGHT.

A picture of the book appears briefly on screen. The cover is red, with a diagram in which three female stick figures push up a scale to balance it.
Linda sits in the studio. She's ion her fifties, with short curly auburn hair. She's wearing glasses, a blue blazer, and a blue blouse.

Nam says HI.

Linda says GOOD TO SEE YOU.

NAM SAYS YOU'RE LIKE A SUPERHERO TO ME.

[LINDA LAUGHS]

Nam says I MEAN, YOU'RE... YOU'RE LIKE A SUPERHERO TO ALL OF CANADA.
YOU'RE LIKE WONDER WOMAN.

LINDA SAYS AW.
WELL, THAT...

[LINDA AND NAM CHUCKLE]

Linda says NO... BUT NO SWORDS AND NO GUNS.
NO, NO.

Nam laughs and says NO, NO, AND
THAT...

Linda says VERY PEACEFUL METHODOLOGY.

NAM SAYS EXACTLY.

[LINDA CHUCKLES]

Nam says SO, YOU GREW UP IN THE 1950S.

LINDA SAYS YES.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO GROW UP AS A
YOUNG WOMAN IN THE 1950S IN TORONTO?

The caption changes to "Linda Silver Dranoff. Author, 'Fairly equal.'"
Then, it changes again to "The winding road to law."

Linda says WELL, THERE WAS THE EXPECTATION
ALWAYS THAT YOUR ROLE IN LIFE
WAS AS A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY.
YOU'RE A... YOU'RE GONNA BE A
WIFE, AND IF YOU WEREN'T A WIFE
BY THE TIME YOU WERE 21, THERE
WAS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG
WITH YOU.
AND MEN REALLY DID CONTROL THE
CULTURE; THEY CONTROLLED
REPRODUCTION; THEY CONTROLLED
PROPERTY.
THERE WAS NO PROVISION FOR
SUPPORT, FOR EXAMPLE.
I MEAN, A GOOD HUSBAND WAS
ALWAYS A GOOD THING TO FIND... BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T
NECESSARILY HAVE TO RELY ON LAWS
THAT FAVOURED THEM.
BUT FOR THOSE THAT DID, IT WAS
VERY DIFFICULT FOR WOMEN WHO
DIDN'T CHOOSE WISELY, WHICH MANY
WOMEN, UNFORTUNATELY, DIDN'T.
BUT THE '50S WAS JUST A TIME
WHEN GIRLS WERE NOT... AND WE WERE
GIRLS... WERE NOT EXPECTED TO DO
ANYTHING MUCH BUT THE VERY
IMPORTANT ROLE OF RAISING A
FAMILY... GETTING MARRIED, RAISING
A FAMILY.
IN THAT ORDER.

Nam says AND YOU CALLED IT THE MRS.
DEGREE.

Linda says THE M-R-S DEGREE.

Nam laughs and says YEAH.

Linda says WHEN WE WENT TO UNIVERSITY,
THOSE FEW OF US WHO... WHO HAD THE
OPPORTUNITY AND THE INTEREST,
BECAUSE THERE WAS... THERE... 5 percent OF
PEOPLE WENT TO UNIVERSITY WHEN I
WAS... WHEN I ENTERED.
AND OF THOSE, THERE WERE VERY
FEW WOMEN WITH POSSIBILITIES.
SO, IT WAS... THERE WAS NO
EXPECTATIONS, REALLY, THAT A
WOMAN WOULD HAVE CAREER GOALS,
WOULD EARN A... A BETTER LIVING
THAN HER HUSBAND, WHICH MANY DID
EVENTUALLY, YOU KNOW?
IT WAS A VERY DIFFERENT, VERY
DRAWN-BACK ERA.
EVEN... EVEN CONTRACEPTION... AND ABORTION WERE CRIMINAL
OFFENCES.
IN OTHER WORDS, A WOMAN WAS A
REPRODUCER.
AND THE LAWS PREVENTED HER FROM
PUTTING... OBSTRUCTING THAT
PROCESS.

Nam says AT HOME THOUGH, FOR YOUR FAMILY...

LINDA SAYS YEAH...

Nam says YOU SAY THAT YOU HAD THE
GREATEST EXAMPLE BECAUSE YOUR...

LINDA SAYS YEAH...

Nam says THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOUR
MOTHER AND YOUR FATHER WAS VERY EQUAL.

LINDA SAYS YES.

Nam says AND IN FACT, YOUR MOM WAS AN
ENTREPRENEUR IN THE 1950S.

Linda says YES.
I WAS... I WAS SO LUCKY...
BECAUSE MY PARENTS HAD A
LOVING RELATIONSHIP, AND I
DIDN'T KNOW THAT... I MEAN, I KNEW
THAT THE WORLD WAS LIKE THIS.
DESPITE WHATEVER MY PARENTS SAID
IN THE HOME, I EXPECTED IF I
DIDN'T GET MARRIED BY THE TIME I
WAS 21, YOU KNOW, I HAD LOST MY
PLACE IN SOCIETY.
AND NOT THAT THEY SAID IT, BUT
THERE'S... THERE'S INFLUENCES
OUTSIDE AS WELL.
BUT... BUT MY FATHER WAS A VERY
MODERN THINKER.
MY MOTHER, WHEN THEY GOT
MARRIED, EARNED MORE THAN HE DID
BECAUSE SHE... SHE WAS IN... YOU
KNOW, A SUPER-DUPER TYPIST IN AN
ERA WHERE THEY DIDN'T HAVE, YOU
KNOW, KEYBOARDS.

NAM SAYS COMPUTERS, YEAH.

Linda says IT WASN'T KEYBOARDS... IT WAS CLUNKING, OLD
UNDERWOODS AND REMINGTONS.
AND SHE... SHE TYPED OVER 100
WORDS A MINUTE.
AND SHE HIRED HERSELF OUT FOR
PIECE WORK RATHER THAN... RATHER
THAN ON A SALARY.
AND SO, SHE WAS VERY
ENTREPRENEURIAL FOR HER TIME.
SO, I DID HAVE A GOOD... GOOD
EXAMPLES.
I DIDN'T HAVE THEM LECTURING TO
ME, BUT I SAW.

NAM SAYS YOU SAW WHAT... YEAH.

Linda says YEAH.

Nam says AND YOU WRITE THAT YOUR IDEAS
ABOUT FAIRNESS WAS FUELED BY
YOUR PARENTS' STRONG SENSE OF
RIGHT AND WRONG.
IN WHAT WAYS?

Linda says WELL, THEY WERE... THEY WERE
PEOPLE WHO JUST HAD A SENSE
OF... FOR EXAMPLE, AFTER THE
WAR... THE SECOND WORLD
WAR... THEY... THERE WERE MANY
CANADIAN-JAPANESE PEOPLE
INTERNED... IN INTERNMENT CAMPS 'CAUSE
THEY WERE CONSIDERED, BECAUSE
THEY WERE JAPANESE-CANADIANS,
THAT THEY HAD SOME LINKAGE TO
JAPAN THAT WAS INVOLVED IN THE
WAR IN WHICH CANADA WAS ON THE
OPPOSITE SIDE.
SO, THEY WERE INTERNED.
OR THEY COULDN'T FIND PLACES TO
LIVE.
IT WAS SORT OF... DURING THE WAR,
THEY WERE INTERNED, AND THEN
AFTERWARDS, THEY HAD TROUBLE
FINDING PLACES TO LIVE.
WELL, MY PARENTS RENTED A COUPLE
OF ROOMS TO A LOVELY JAPANESE
COUPLE.
AND NO, THEY DIDN'T HAVE... AS I
SAY, NO LECTURES.
IT JUST HAPPENED.

Nam says BY EXAMPLE.

Linda says IT JUST HAPPENED BY EXAMPLE.

Nam says AND ONE OF MY FAVOURITE STORIES
IN THE BOOK...

LINDA SAYS YES...

Nam says LOTS OF GREAT STORIES, BUT ONE
OF MY FAVOURITE STORIES IS
THE... THE STORY ABOUT HART HOUSE...

Linda says YES.

Nam says AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO.
AND IT'S A PROTEST YOU
LED WHEN PRESIDENT JOHN
F. KENNEDY... THEN, A YOUNG
SENATOR... WAS IN TOWN TO DEBATE
STEPHEN LEWIS.

LINDA SAYS RIGHT.

Nam says WHAT HAPPENED?

Linda says WELL, IT WAS MY FIRST YEAR OF
UNIVERSITY.
AND THEY HAD HART HOUSE DEBATES
ALL THE TIME, BUT HART HOUSE,
BECAUSE OF THE RULES SET DOWN
WHEN HART HOUSE WAS BUILT, WAS
CLOSED TO WOMEN, EXCEPT, YOU
KNOW, THE ODD TIME THEY LET US
COME IN AFTER 3:00 IN THE
AFTERNOON FOR A CUP OF COFFEE IF
A MALE TOOK US IN.

NAM SAYS HOW GENEROUS.

Linda says YEAH, THAT SORT OF THING.
BUT THEY DID HAVE DEBATES, AND
THEY DID ALLOW WOMEN ONCE A
YEAR.
BUT THEY DID NOT... WE WANTED TO
BE ALLOWED IN TO HEAR JOHN F.
KENNEDY BECAUSE WE HEARD HE
WAS... YOU KNOW, HE WAS RUNNING
FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT.
HE WAS A HANDSOME GUY.
AND HE WAS AN INTERESTING MAN,
AND WE WANTED TO GO IN FOR THAT
DEBATE.
WELL, A GROUP OF US WENT TO TALK
TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
HART HOUSE... THEN, CALLED THE
WARDEN... AND ASKED, "COULD WE,
PLEASE, HAVE ACCESS TO THIS ONE
DEBATE, RATHER THAN ANY OF THE
OTHERS."
"OH, NO," HE SAID.
"WHAT ARE YOU FUSSING OVER?"
YOU KNOW, HE WAS SORTA,
"THERE, THERE, GIRLS."
SO, WE LEFT, AND WE PICKETED.
I WROTE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR OF
THE VARSITY.
IT'S REPRODUCED IN MY BOOK, IN
FACT.
AND WOMEN OF THE WORLD
UNITE... [LAUGHING]... YOU KNOW?
AND... AND THERE WAS NO FEMINIST
MOVEMENT AT THAT TIME.
THEY WERE JUST A GROUP OF WOMEN
WHO THOUGHT, "THIS JUST ISN'T FAIR."
"WHY SHOULD WE BE EXCLUDED?"

Nam says AND DO YOU THINK THAT THAT EVENT
PLANTED THE SEED OF THE WORK
THAT YOU WERE TO DO?

Linda says I THINK... I THINK IT DID.
EVEN IF I DIDN'T NECESSARILY
UNDERSTAND IT AT... AT THE TIME.
IT'S SORT OF MY EARLIEST MEMORY
OF ACTIVIST WORK... FOR WOMEN AND AGAINST
UNFAIRNESS.

NAM SAYS WHEN DID YOU FIRST
ENTERTAIN THE IDEA OF BECOMING A LAWYER?

Linda says WELL, I THINK I ACTUALLY
SECRETLY ENTERTAINED IT WHEN I
WAS IN UNIVERSITY FOR MY
UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM.
BUT I DIDN'T SEE ANY WOMEN
LAWYERS AROUND ME.
WOMEN WEREN'T EXPECTED TO GO
INTO LAW.
IT WAS JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS
THAT SORT OF WASN'T ON THE LIST...
OF EXPECTATIONS.
SO, I PUT IT IN THE BACK OF MY MIND.
AND AFTER THAT... I GOT MARRIED.
I WAS STILL 21.
I FULFILLED THE EXPECTATIONS OF
THE ERA.

[NAM CHUCKLES]

Linda says WHEN THE MARRIAGE DID NOT WORK
OUT, UNFORTUNATELY, I THEN
DECIDED, "WELL, I HAVE ANOTHER
CHANCE.
WITH THIS SECOND CHANCE, I'M
SUPPOSED TO DO WHAT I REALLY
WANNA DO."
SO, I DECIDED I WOULD GO TO LAW
SCHOOL.

Nam says YOU GO TO LAW SCHOOL; YOU'RE A
MATURE STUDENT...

LINDA SAYS YES.

Nam says YOU'RE A SINGLE PARENT...

LINDA SAYS YES...

Nam says AND YOU HAVE A YOUNG CHILD.

Linda says SHE WAS A YEAR-AND-A-HALF AT THE TIME.

NAM SAYS WHAT WAS THAT FIRST YEAR LIKE?

Linda says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IT WAS... IT
WAS THRILLING.
I KEPT SORT OF PINCHING MYSELF
AND LOOKING AROUND...

[NAM CHUCKLES]

Linda says AND DID I REALLY... DID I REALLY
MANAGE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS?

Nam says AND I FORGOT YOU'RE A WOMAN TOO.

LINDA SAYS I AM A WOMAN.

NAM SAYS YEAH.

LINDA SAYS THAT'S RIGHT.
THAT'S RIGHT.
AND MOST OF THE STUDENTS DIDN'T
KNOW I HAD A CHILD.
I HAD ORGANIZED THINGS SO THAT I
HAD CARE FOR HER DURING THE DAY,
AND THEN I WOULD COME HOME IN
THE EVENING AND DO STUDIES IN
THE EVENING.
BUT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS ONE OF
THOSE TIMES WHERE YOU SAY,
"WHY NOT?"

Nam says BUT EVEN AFTER YOU FINISHED LAW SCHOOL...

LINDA SAYS YEAH...

Nam says AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT
OF... BEFORE YOU BECOME A LAWYER,
YOU HAVE TO ARTICLE.

Linda says RIGHT.

Nam says AND YOU... WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU
TRIED TO GET AN ARTICLING POSITION?

Linda says WELL, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE,
SOME OF MY PROFESSORS
RECOMMENDED ME TO SOME OF THE
TOP FIRMS.
YOU KNOW, THE BUDDIES WHO CALL
THE BUDDIES AND SAY, "WHO ARE
THE UP-AND-COMING PEOPLE WHO
ARE... WILL BE GOOD LAWYERS?"
SO, THE PROFS... SOME OF THE PROFS
RECOMMENDED ME.
BUT I FOUND THAT THE... THESE BIG
LAW FIRMS AT THE TIME DIDN'T
WANT WOMEN.
IT WAS VERY CLEAR THAT WHOEVER
MAY HAVE INTERVIEWED ME, THE
SENIOR LAWYERS DID NOT WANNA
HIRE WOMEN AT THAT TIME.
AND THIS WAS 1972 WHEN I
GRADUATED LAW SCHOOL, AND WHEN I
WAS LOOKING FOR AN ARTICLING
POSITION.
I DID EVENTUALLY FIND ONE WHICH
HAD PROBLEMS OF ITS OWN, AS I
LAY OUT IN THE BOOK.

Nam says AND THEN YOU END UP OPENING YOUR
OWN FIRM.

LINDA SAYS I DID.

Nam says AND IN THE BOOK, YOU WRITE ABOUT
THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING
SELF-EMPLOYED.

LINDA SAYS YES.

Nam says AND HOW THAT HELPED YOUR CAREER.
IF YOU HADN'T BEEN
SELF-EMPLOYED, DO YOU THINK YOU
WOULD HAVE HAD THE CAREER THAT
YOU HAD?

Linda says NO.
NO.
I DON'T THINK SO BECAUSE I
THINK... I ALWAYS SAY I HAD THE
BEST BOSS IN THE WORLD.

[LINDA AND NAM LAUGH]

Linda says I DON'T THINK... I THINK THAT
THERE... I HAD... I HAD A GOAL TO
MAKE A LIVING AS A LAWYER, YES,
AND TO DO THE VERY BEST I COULD
FOR MY CLIENTS, BUT ALSO TO TRY
AND ACHIEVE FAIRNESS IN THOSE
PLACES WHERE THE KNOWLEDGE OF
LAW WOULD GIVE ME THAT
OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE FAIRNESS.
SO, MANY FIRMS AT THAT TIME
WERE... THEIR GOALS WERE PROFIT.
THEY WEREN'T... THEY WEREN'T
LOOKING FOR JUSTICE AS MUCH AS
THEY WERE LOOKING TO, YOU KNOW,
CARRY OUT THE PROFESSION
AND... AND BE IN BUSINESS.
SO, I HAD DIFFERENT GOALS.
I WAS MORE WILLING TO TAKE A
CLIENT WITH A CAUSE.
BUT I ALWAYS MADE A LIVING
ANYWAY.
I JUST BALANCED THINGS AROUND.

Nam says AND YOU DID LOTS OF LAW...

LINDA SAYS YES...

Nam says BUT YOU SAID THAT THE ONLY LAW
THAT YOU WOULDN'T DO WAS CRIMINAL LAW.

Linda says YES.

NAM SAYS WHY WAS THAT?

The caption changes to "Family law."

Linda says WELL... [CHUCKLES]... I GUESS I... I
FELT THAT IN THE MOST SERIOUS
CASE, THERE WOULD BE A CERTAIN
AMOUNT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES,
WHAT THEY CALLED RAPE CASES IN
THOSE DAYS.
AND I JUST DIDN'T FEEL... I FELT
THAT ANY GUY WHO WANTED TO HIRE
ME TO REPRESENT HIM TO DEFEND
HIM IN A RAPE CHARGE, WOULD BE
LOOKING, AT LEAST PARTLY, FOR
THE FACT THAT I WAS A WOMAN.
AND I WOULDN'T WANT... DIDN'T WANT
MY WOMANHOOD TO BE USED IN THAT
WAY.

Nam says BECAUSE YOUR... BEING A WOMAN HAD
BEEN USED AGAINST YOU BEFORE.

LINDA SAYS I GUESS SO.

Nam says YEAH.

LINDA SAYS MM HMM.

Nam says WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO FOCUS ON
FAMILY LAW?
WHY DID YOU WANNA FOCUS ON
FAMILY LAW?

Linda says WELL, ACTUALLY, IT WAS THE
TIMING THAT FAMILY LAW JUST
AROUND THE TIME WHEN I WAS
SETTING UP MY OFFICE, IT
WAS... THE MURDOCH
CASE... [COUGHS]... PARDON ME...
THE MURDOCH CASE BECAME
A MATTER OF... A CAUSE CÉLÈBRE
WHERE A FARM WIFE WAS NOT ABLE
TO ACHIEVE HER FAIR SHARE OF
WHAT SHE'D HELPED WORK FOR.
AND SO, GOVERNMENTS, WOMEN,
FAIR-MINDED PEOPLE STARTED
LOOKING FOR HOW SHOULD WE CHANGE
FAMILY LAWS.
SO, I SORT OF ENTERED MY
PRACTICE OF LAW AT THE TIME THAT
FAMILY LAWS WERE STARTING TO
CHANGE.
WHEN I ACTUALLY OPENED MY
OFFICE, THE DIVORCE WAS VERY
DIFFICULT TO GET.
IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, IT HAD
JUST BECOME LEGAL SIX OR EIGHT
YEARS PREVIOUSLY, AND THERE WAS
NO RIGHT TO SHARED PROPERTY.
AND SUPPORT WAS MINIMAL.
SO, IF I HAD BEEN LEFT WITH THE
LAWS IN EXISTENCE WHEN I FIRST
CAME IN, I WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN
ABLE TO BE OF MUCH ASSISTANCE TO
PEOPLE.

Nam says BUT I FEEL... I THINK IT'S SO
INTERESTING THAT YOU TOOK THAT ON.
AND I DON'T WANNA SKIP AHEAD THE
BOOK, BUT TOWARDS THE END OF THE
BOOK, YOU SAID THAT ALL OF US
CAN AFFECT CHANGE.

Linda says YES.

NAM SAYS AND WERE TALKING ABOUT IT
BEFORE WE STARTED TAPING.
HOW CAN ONE PERSON MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Linda says ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
BY STANDING UP FOR WHAT'S RIGHT,
FOR MAKING A CONTRIBUTION IN
WHEREVER THEY FIND THEMSELVES.
THERE'S ALL KINDS OF THINGS IN
THE WORLD THAT NEED TO BE PAID
ATTENTION TO.
AND EVERYBODY HAS DIFFERENT
SKILLS, DIFFERENT INTERESTS, BUT
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU'RE JUST
SUPPOSED TO STAND UP AND BE
COUNTED.
AND IF EVERYBODY DID THAT,
THERE'D BE A LOT OF EXCELLENT
CHANGE MADE IN THE WORLD.
AND I GUESS I... I REPRESENT THAT
IDEA IN A WAY.

Nam says AND YOU FOUGHT FOR SO MANY
PEOPLE, BUT YOU WRITE THAT
DURING YOUR CAREER, TWO OF YOUR
CLIENTS ENDED UP TAKING THEIR
OWN LIVES...
AFTER THEIR MARRIAGES FELL
APART.
WHAT KIND OF IMPACT DID THAT
HAVE ON YOU?

Linda says WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I KNEW THEN
I HAD DONE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE
THAT I COULD FOR THESE WOMEN.
IT WAS MORE ONCE THEY WERE
DIVORCED, THEY HAD REASONABLE
SETTLEMENTS.
THE MARRIAGE WAS OVER.
THESE WERE WOMEN WHO WERE SO
DEEPLY TIED TO THEIR HUSBANDS
FOR THEIR OWN FEELINGS OF
SELF-WORTH... THAT THEY COULDN'T GO ON
LIVING WITHOUT THAT.
AND TO ME, IT WAS JUST A VERY
SAD WAY IN WHICH WOMEN ARE
SOMETIMES ACCULTURATED THAT WE
THINK THAT WE OURSELVES ARE NOT
WORTHY AS INDIVIDUALS UNLESS WE
ARE ATTACHED TO A WORTHY PARTNER.
AND I THINK THESE WOMEN SAW
THINGS THE WRONG WAY.
AND THERE WAS NO WAY TO BE... THAT
THEY COULD BE PERSUADED
OTHERWISE.

Nam says YOU'VE EVEN TAKEN SOME CASES TO
THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA.
TELL US ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE.

Linda says WELL, THE EXPERIENCE AT THE
SUPREME COURT OF CANADA WAS... WAS
TERRIFIC.
THAT WAS WHEN I WAS... THE FIRST
FAMILY LAW REFORM THAT WAS
BROUGHT IN... AS I SAID, AS I
STARTED MY PRACTICE, THEY WERE
LOOKING TO FAMILY LAW REFORM.
THERE WAS A FORMAT BROUGHT IN... IN ONTARIO IN 1978, AND I
THOUGHT, "OH WELL, IF IT'S
INTERPRETED PROPERLY, THIS CAN
ACHIEVE EQUALITY AND FAIRNESS
FOR WOMEN."
AND I WAS SHOCKED THAT WHILE THE
TRIAL JUDGE IN PARTICULAR THE
CASE... THE LEATHERDALE CASE THAT
I TOOK...

NAM SAYS BARBARA LEATHERDALE?

Linda says YES... GAVE HER 50-50.
SHE HAD WORKED FOR PART OF THE
MARRIAGE; SHE HAD A CHILD; SHE
HAD TAKEN CARE OF THE HOME.
AND THE COURT OF APPEAL TURNED
THAT ASIDE, AND SO THEREFORE, I
WAS IN THE POSITION WHERE I HAD
TO DECIDE HOW DO I... WHERE DO WE
GO FROM HERE?
BECAUSE IF THAT COURT OF APPEAL
DECISION HELD... THAT WAS IN
1980... I WAS ONLY OUT SIX YEARS
AT THAT POINT... PRACTISING LAW FOR SIX
YEARS... I FELT IT WOULD BE A
DISSERVICE TO ALL WOMEN IN
ONTARIO.
SO, I... I DECIDED THAT WHAT WE
HAD TO DO WAS SEE THE CASE
THROUGH THE WHOLE LEGAL ROUTE.
IN OTHER WORDS, NOT STOP AT THE
COURT OF APPEAL, BUT GO TO THE
SUPREME COURT OF CANADA AND SEE
WHAT THEY DID.
MAYBE THEY WOULD ACHIEVE
EQUALITY.
GIVE... ALLOW FOR THE WIFE TO HAVE
HALF OF THE FAMILY ASSETS
ACCUMULATED DURING THE MARRIAGE.
THAT WAS THE PRINCIPAL ISSUE.
AND THE HUSBAND HAD PENSION,
BUSINESS ASSETS, THAT SORT OF THING.
WELL... SO, I TOOK IT TO THE
SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
WHICH WAS, YOU KNOW, THRILLING.
THEY DON'T TEACH YOU IN LAW
SCHOOL HOW TO GO TO THE SUPREME
COURT OF CANADA.

[NAM CHUCKLES]

Linda says I STILL REMEMBER THAT I... YOU
KNOW, AND THE BACK AND FORTH
WITH THE JUDGES, THE EXTREMELY
INTELLIGENT PEOPLE WITH THEIR
POINTS OF VIEW.
AND IT WAS AN EXCELLENT
EXPERIENCE.
HOWEVER, IN THE END, THOSE
JUDGES... ALL MEN, BY THE
WAY... DECIDED THAT BARBARA
LEATHERDALE SHOULD ACHIEVE ONLY
THE SHARE OF THE PROPERTY THAT
COULD BE ATTRIBUTED TO HER
WORKING OUTSIDE THE HOME FOR
HALF THE MARRIAGE, NOT TO HER
CHILD RAISING AND REARING ROLE
IN THE HOME AT ALL.
SO, SHE GOT A QUARTER OF THE
ASSETS AS A RESULT OF THAT.
SO, FROM THERE, I DECIDED THAT I
WOULD ORGANIZE A LOBBY TO LOBBY
THE GOVERNMENT TO CHANGE THE LAW
TO MAKE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT
MEN AND WOMEN WERE SUPPOSED TO
SHARE EQUALLY WHAT THEY
ACCUMULATED TOGETHER DURING THE
MARRIAGE, AND THAT A WOMAN'S
CHILDBEARING AND REARING ROLE
WOULD BE CONSIDERED A
CONTRIBUTION TO
THE... [CHUCKLES]... TO THE
RELATIONSHIP AND TO THE
FINANCIAL RESULT OF THE
MARRIAGE.

Nam says WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Linda says WELL, THE LOBBYING EXPERIENCE
WAS... WAS... IT WAS INTERESTING; IT
WAS FUN.
I WASN'T EDUCATED FOR IT,
BUT... BUT, YOU KNOW, YOU GO ONE
STEP AT A TIME, AND YOU DO WHAT
YOU CAN.
AS I SAY, EACH PERSON FINDS
THEMSELF IN A PLACE.
I FOUND MYSELF IN A PLACE WHERE
I THOUGHT THE SUPREME COURT OF
CANADA RESULT WAS WRONG.
INADEQUATE.
IT WAS RIGHT AS FAR AS IT WENT,
BUT IT WAS INADEQUATE.
AND THEN IT WAS IMPORTANT TO
TAKE IT TO THE... TO THE NEXT
STEP.
SO, YOU KNOW, I ORGANIZED A
LOBBY.
WE... WE... PRESS RELEASES,
PETITIONS, LETTERS TO THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL, MEETINGS WITH
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, AND SO
FORTH... UNTIL WE... WE ACHIEVED THE... AT
THAT TIME, IT WAS RON MCMURTRY
WHO WAS ATTORNEY GENERAL UNDER
THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE
GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO... THE BILL
DAVIS GOVERNMENT.
HE WAS STILL IN OFFICE THEN.
AND HE HAD BROUGHT IN THE 1978
ACT.
AND THIS WAS 1982.
AND NOTWITHSTANDING THAT, HE
WAS... BY 1984, I HAD PERSUADED
HIM THAT IT... HE HAD TO... HE HAD
TO IMPROVE IT; HE HAD TO IMPROVE
THE SITUATION.
THE JUDGES WERE NOT APPLYING THE
LAW AS HE MAY HAVE INTENDED.
I MEAN, THAT'S HOW I FELT IT WAS
ANYWAY.

Nam says WELL, YOU WRITE THAT ALMOST
EVERYTHING YOU WORKED FOR WAS IN
THE FAMILY LAW ACT OF 1986.

LINDA SAYS YES.

Nam says WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE TO HAVE
BEEN PART OF THAT KIND OF
POSITIVE CHANGE FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES?

Linda says IT WAS EXHILARATING.
IT WAS DEEPLY SATISFYING.
BECAUSE AFTER ALL, I WAS THEN IN
A POSITION AS A FAMILY LAW
LAWYER TO SEE IT IN ACTION.
AND I WOULD BE ABLE TO TELL
CLIENTS WHO CONSULTED ME,
"YOU'RE GONNA GET HALF OF EVERYTHING."
RIGHT?
ON THE OTHER HAND, IT WASN'T ALL
ROSES AND, YOU KNOW,
WHATEVER THE EXPRESSION IS.

[CHUCKLES]

Linda says I MEAN, THERE WAS RESISTANCE BY
HUSBANDS.
THERE WAS RESISTANCE BY LAWYERS
WHO THEY RETAINED.
THERE WAS STILL RESISTANCE BY
SOME JUDGES.
AND I WAS QUITE SURPRISED... YOU
KNOW, IT'S ONE THING TO SAY THE
LAW IS IN PLACE, AND THEN THE
NEXT THING IS TO SAY THAT IT
WILL BE INTERPRETED THE WAY YOU
FELT THE LAW WAS INTENDED TO BE
INTERPRETED.
SO, THERE WERE CASES THAT TRIED
TO CUT AWAY SOME OF THE ADVANCES
OF THAT LAW.
AND I DO DESCRIBE SOME OF THOSE
CASES IN GREAT DEPTH... IN THE BOOK 'CAUSE I THINK
IT'S INSTRUCTIVE TO PEOPLE,
ESPECIALLY YOUNGER PEOPLE NOW
ENTERING LAW OR TRYING TO MAKE
CHANGE IN ANY... IN ANY WAY TO
UNDERSTAND THAT YOU NOT ONLY
HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO PERSUADE
DECISION-MAKERS TO MAKE CHANGE,
YOU HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO
PERSUADE THE PEOPLE WHO
IMPLEMENT THE CHANGE TO DO IT
FAIRLY.

Nam says AND SITTING HERE TODAY, TALKING
TO YOU...
HOW AWARE... DO YOU THINK THAT
YOUNG WOMEN TODAY ARE AWARE OF
ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU AND YOUR
PEERS HAVE ACCOMPLISHED FOR
WOMEN'S RIGHTS?

The caption changes to "Looking back, looking forward."

Linda says ACTUALLY, I DON'T, AND THAT'S
THE INTERESTING PART.
I THINK THEY TAKE IT A
LOT FOR GRANTED.
I SPOKE AT AN EVENT RECENTLY
WHERE A YOUNG WOMAN LAWYER STOOD
UP AFTER I TALKED ABOUT SOME OF
THE THINGS THAT ARE IN MY BOOK,
AND SHE SAID, "HOW COME WE
WEREN'T TAUGHT ANY OF THIS?"
AND A NUMBER OF PEOPLE... A NUMBER
OF YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE
SAID THE SAME THING.
AND I THINK THAT'S A REAL... IT'S
A TRAGEDY, IN A WAY, BECAUSE IF
YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT... WHAT
WENT BEFORE... YOU DON'T, FIRST OF ALL,
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE; YOU
DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT IT CAN BE
TAKEN AWAY.
AND ANOTHER VERY STRONG FOCUS OF
MY BOOK IS THE NEED TO MAINTAIN
VIGILANCE AND TO WORK TO
MAINTAIN THE ADVANCES.
I MEAN, THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES... WHEN SOME OF THE ADVANCES MADE
WERE... FOR INSTANCE, THERE WAS AN
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT IN THE
EARLY '90S.
AND THEN THE... THE GOVERNMENT
THAT CAME IN AFTERWARDS DECIDED
THAT THAT EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT
MUST HAVE BEEN A QUOTA SYSTEM,
RIGHT... TO GIVE JOBS TO WOMEN ON A
QUOTA BASIS.
IT NEVER SAID THAT.
BUT THE GOVERNMENT... THAT
SUCCEEDING GOVERNMENT... THE MAKE
HARRIS GOVERNMENT, BY THE
WAY... SIMPLY REPEALED THE LAW AND
THEN ORDERED ALL THE INFORMATION
THAT HAD BEEN ACCUMULATED
BECAUSE OF THAT LAW TO BE SHREDDED, OK?
SO, THAT SHOWS YOU.
HERE'S THIS EXCELLENT LAW IN
PLACE... THE SUCCEEDING GOVERNMENT GOT
RID OF IT.
SO, THAT... WHAT I'M SAYING TO YOU
IS IT SHOWS THAT WE HAVE TO
MAINTAIN VIGILANCE IN ORDER TO
KEEP THE ADVANCES THAT WE'VE
MADE, AND TO KEEP STRUGGLING FOR
FURTHER ADVANCES.
I MEAN, WE'RE NOT DONE.
WHAT... THIS IS A HISTORY OF THE
FEMINIST REVOLUTION AND MY... AND
MY OWN PERSONAL HISTORY.
AND WE'RE NOT DONE.
I MEAN, WE'VE BEEN PROMISED
REALLY GOOD CHILDCARE PLACES FOR
MANY, MANY YEARS.
AND I... THERE'S RECENT RUMBLINGS
ABOUT SOMETHING HAPPENING.
I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THAT EVEN
MEETS THE PROMISES THAT WERE
MADE 20 YEARS AGO.
BUT PAY EQUITY...

NAM SAYS YEAH...

Linda says WE... THE PAY EQUITY LAW WAS
PASSED IN 1986, AND AT THAT
TIME, WOMEN WERE EARNING ROUGHLY
63 CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR A
MAN'S EARNING... EARNED.
AND IT'S 70 CENTS TODAY.

NAM SAYS SEVEN CENTS MORE.

Linda says NOT... AND IT'S... FOR... YOU CAN TAKE
AWAY ALL THE EXCUSES PEOPLE
GIVE, BUT THERE IS A SIGNIFICANT
PART OF THAT THAT'S ATTRIBUTABLE
TO DISCRIMINATION.

Nam says AND BECAUSE IF YOU'RE A PERSON
OF COLOUR...

LINDA SAYS YES...

Nam says OR ABILITY, CLASS, YOU ALSO
GET PAID LESS, AND YOU GET
TREATED DIFFERENTLY.

Linda says THAT'S RIGHT.
ALL THESE THINGS: THE EMPLOYMENT
EQUITY ACT, THE PAY EQUITY
ACT... JUST AS TWO EXAMPLES... THEY
WERE NOT JUST TO BENEFIT WOMEN
AS COMPARED TO MEN; THEY WERE TO
MAKE CIRCUMSTANCES FAIR AND
EQUAL FOR EVERYONE.
THAT MEANS PEOPLE WITH OTHER
DIFFERENCES THAT COULD... MIGHT BE TREATED DIFFERENTLY,
AS YOU SAY.

Nam says WOMEN NOW OFTEN MAKE UP... NOW
MAKE UP AT LEAST HALF OF LAW
SCHOOL GRADUATING CLASSES.

Linda says YES.

NAM SAYS DOES THIS SURPRISE YOU?

Linda says WELL, NOT REALLY.
I MEAN, I THINK IT'S TERRIFIC.
THE TREND STARTED AFTER I... AFTER
I GOT THERE.

NAM SAYS WOULD YOU WANT IT TO BE
MORE THOUGH?

Linda says MORE THAN 50 percent?

[NAM AND LINDA LAUGH]

LINDA SAYS MORE THAN 55 percent?

NAM SAYS YEAH.

Linda says YOU KNOW WHAT, WHOEVER WANTS TO
AND HAS THE ABILITY, SHOULD HAVE
THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO IT.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, MANY OF
THESE YOUNG WOMEN ARE LEAVING
THE FIRMS THAT CANNOT
ACCOMMODATE THEIR NEED FOR A
BALANCED LIFE.
A WOMAN SHOULD NOT HAVE TO
CHOOSE BETWEEN HAVING CHILDREN
AND HAVING A CAREER.
I MEAN, THAT'S FROM THE '50S.
AND IF A WOMAN... A WOMAN LAWYER
WORKS FOR CERTAIN FIRMS, THEY
ARE EXPECTED TO WORK SO MANY
HOURS THAT IT'S VERY DIFFICULT
TO HAVE A FAMILY LIFE AS WELL.
AND THAT'S THE KIND OF THING
THAT EVEN WITH MORE THAN 50 percent OF
THE GRADUATING CLASSES BEING
WOMEN, THEY STILL HAVEN'T
MANAGED TO, IN THE WORKFORCE,
MAKE THINGS FAIR FOR THEMSELVES
IN EVERY RESPECT.
THERE ARE SOME.
I MEAN, I CHOSE TO GO INTO
PRACTICE FOR MYSELF.
I... I STILL RECOMMEND IT.
WHEN I HAVE CHANCES TO TALK TO
YOUNG WOMEN, I STILL RECOMMEND
IT TO THEM.
I SAY, "GET YOUR EXPERIENCE.
GO TO ONE OF THE FIRMS THAT'LL
GIVE YOU THE EXPERIENCE IN THE
AREA THAT YOU WANNA SPECIALIZE
IN... THEN GET A COUPLE OF WOMEN
TOGETHER AND SET UP A... YOUR OWN
FIRM.
AND THEN YOU CAN ORGANIZE YOUR
OWN LIFE."

Nam says WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT IMPOSTOR
SYNDROME.
YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT BEING AT
THE SUPREME COURT.
WAS THERE ANY TIME IN YOUR
CAREER THAT YOU FELT INTIMIDATED
BY SOMETHING OR SOMEONE IN YOUR
PROFESSIONAL CAREER?
INTIMIDATED?

Linda says WELL, I SUPPOSE IN MY HEART OF
HEARTS, I MIGHT HAVE BEEN, YES.
BUT I NEVER LET MYSELF ACT ON IT.
IN OTHER WORDS, THESE FEELINGS
COME OUT FROM A CERTAIN PLACE
AND A DISTANCE IN SOCIETY, BUT
THERE'S NO REASON TO BE INTIMIDATED.
I FOUND LATER, IN
FACT... SOMETIMES THEY WOULD TELL
ME THAT I INTIMIDATED THEM.
AND I'D SAY, "I DON'T INTEND TO."

[LINDA CHUCKLES]

Nam says AND WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE
FOR WOMEN WHO ARE GOING... WHO
WANNA BECOME LAWYERS?

Linda says I'D SAY DO IT.
DO IT.
ABSOLUTELY.
AND AS I SAY, IF YOU... MY
PREFERENCE WAS TO... TO BE ON YOUR
OWN.
BUT THEY'RE... IF YOU CAN FIND A
PLACE AND A FIRM THAT ALLOWS YOU
TO LIVE YOUR LIFE FULLY... AS I
SAY, NOBODY SHOULD HAVE SUCH
A... A LIFE THAT ONLY... YOU'RE ONLY
WORKING MANY HOURS A DAY.

Nam says WHAT IS YOUR HOPE FOR THIS BOOK?

Linda says MY HOPE FOR THIS BOOK IS THAT
YOUNG PEOPLE WILL READ IT, AND
THEY WILL LEARN THAT THEY CAN
MAKE A CONTRIBUTION IN WHATEVER
WAY THEY FIND THEMSELVES, IN
WHATEVER CAREER THEY HAPPEN TO
BE IN.
THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF WAYS.
EVERYBODY CAN DO SOMETHING TO
MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE.
AND I THINK IT'S INCUMBENT UPON
EVERYONE TO TRY.
BUT AS I SAY, I'M NOT MAKING THE
GOAL SO HUGE THAT THEY WILL FEEL
THEY CAN'T POSSIBLY ACHIEVE IT.
I'M SAYING PICK A SMALL GOAL.
IF EVERYONE HAS EVEN A SMALL
GOAL AND A SMALL WAY IN WHICH
THEY CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR
SOCIETY, IT WILL HELP EVERYONE.
DO SOMETHING.

The caption changes to "Producer: Meredith Martin, @MeredithMartin."

Nam says THANK YOU SO MUCH, LINDA.

Linda says THANK YOU.

NAM SAYS IT'S TRIPPING ME OUT THAT
I'M SITTING HERE, IN PART
BECAUSE OF ALL THE WORK THAT
YOU'VE DONE.

Linda says MY PLEASURE.

Watch: Lawyering and the Feminist Revolution