Two Firsts (Paperback)

Bertha Wilson and Claire l'Heureux-Dubé at the Supreme Court of Canada

By Constance Backhouse

Second Story Press, 9781772600933, 272pp.

Publication Date: March 8, 2019

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Bertha Wilson and Claire L'Heureux-Dub were the first women judges on the Supreme Court of Canada. Their 1980s judicial appointments delighted feminists and shocked the legal establishment. Polar opposites in background and temperament, the two faced many identical challenges.

Constance Backhouse's compelling narrative explores the sexist roadblocks they faced in education, law practice, and on the courts. She profiles their different ways of coping, their landmark decisions for women's rights, and their less stellar records on race. To explore the lives and careers of these two path-breaking women is to venture into a world of legal sexism from a past era. The question for the future becomes: how much of this sexism been relegated to the bins of history, and how much continues?