An Introductory Handbook for Law Students

Gender and the Law Manual

Compiled by a working group of law students from across Canada following a leadership summit held by NAWL in February 2011, this manual aims to encourage feminist students and future lawyers to think critically about the law and take action to denounce inequality and injustice. It consists of manifestos, excerpts of articles and personal accounts written by 25 feminist students, professors, lawyers and activists.
Download the manual

Gender and the Law Manual: An Introductory Handbook for Law Students

In 1991, the National Association of Women and the Law Charitable Trust for Research and Education published this manual as a means of reaching out to law students in friendship and in recognition of the unique concerns of women in law. Years later, we believe such a handbook is still relevant. While a small number of pieces that appeared in the original Manual have been reprinted here, the working group that compiled this guide laboured to ensure that law students would have some current reference material to assist them in meeting the challenges presented by law school and legal practice today.

It is our hope that by exposing some of the institutional barriers that make the law school experience difficult for many women and individuals from equality seeking groups, we will effectively encourage more awareness and discussion of the issues – and perhaps even encourage small steps to be taken toward the development of practical answers as well.

The editors of the earlier release of this handbook wrote: “we believe that a handbook such as this will make an important contribution toward our long-term objective of making the law and the legal profession more sensitive to women.” That long-term objective is far from realized: there remains much work to be done to reduce systemic discrimination embedded in the law, as well as in legal education and practice. By publishing this revised handbook, we renew our commitment to achieving our goal of advancing the equality rights of Canadian women.

Please let us know if you have found this handbook useful. We welcome ideas for future iterations of this orientation guide should it continue to be necessary and relevant.


table of contents