Someone who's name you might be familiar with if you live in the Ottawa region is Shirley Greenberg. If you aren't familiar with her, please read ahead and learn about this trailblazing woman!
Shirley Greenberg entered law school when she was 41 years old. She had three children at the time, the youngest of whom was 9 years old. This was in 1973, when it was basically unheard of for women, let alone mothers, to be studying or practicing law. In Ottawa, out of 1,000 practicing lawyers, only ten were women! She was one out of 9 women in a class of 60, and struggled with not being taken seriously by her male classmates. Although it bothered her, it also motivated her to work towards creating laws that reflected women's rights. She fought for divorce and family law to protect women and entitle them to the equal split of property and assets in divorce proceedings.
Her tenacity helped in creating the first all female law firm with Katherine Aiken, who is now a Supreme Court judge, to help women seeking women lawyers. She also helped create the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre and the National Association of Women and the Law, as well as the Women's Career Counselling Centre and Interval House which is a refuge for battered women. These are not small feats, and as a country we are incredibly fortunate that women like Shirley Greenberg persisted through turbulent and tough times surrounding women's rights. Of course things are still not perfect, but her work continues to inspire women in the field of law to push the boundaries that are constantly put in place when it comes to the protection of our rights.