Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook

By Rebecca Mae Salokar; Mary L. Volcansek | Go to book overview

BERTHA WILSON (1923–)

Bertha Wilson’s contribution to Canadian law has been both symbolic and substantive. As the first woman lawyer in her law firm, and the first woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court of Canada, she has been an important symbol of women’s aspirations, especially women lawyers’.

Beyond her pioneering role as a woman who became a lawyer and then a judge, Wilson’s intellectual contribution to the substantive development of law in Canada has also been significant, particularly in relation to the principles of interpretation for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Since her retirement from the Court in 1991, she has continued to demonstrate her commitment to challenging intellectual work in her role as chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) Task Force on Gender Equality in the Legal Profession and as co-chair of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.


FAMILY BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION

Bertha Wilson was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland, on September 18, 1923, the daughter of Archibald and Christina Wernham, and attended secondary school in Aberdeen. She received the Master of Arts degree from the University of Aberdeen in 1944 and the Teaching Parchment from the Aberdeen Training College for Teachers in 1945. In that year, she married the Reverend John Wilson, and they moved to Macduff, a small town on the coast of Scotland, where the congregation included mostly fishermen and farmers. In 1949, John and Bertha Wilson immigrated to Canada and settled first in Renfrew, a small community in the Ottawa Valley, where Reverend Wilson became the United Church minister. Three years later, John became a naval chaplain during the Korean War, and Bertha worked briefly as a dentists’ receptionist in Ottawa. In

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Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editorial Advisory Board vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Florence Ellinwood Allen (1884–1966) 17
  • Mary Arden (1947–) 25
  • Anita Augsburg (1857–1943) 31
  • Suzanne Bastid-Basdevant (1906–) 34
  • Miriam Ben-Porat (1918–) 38
  • Myra Bradwell (1831–1882) 45
  • Beverly Blair Cook (1927–) 51
  • Irene R. Cortes (1920–) 62
  • Takako Doi (1928–) 68
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933–) 78
  • Brenda Marjorie Hale (1945–) 88
  • Rosalyn Higgins (1937–) 94
  • Leonilde Iotti (1920–) 101
  • Barbara Charline Jordan (1936–1996) 112
  • Sylvie Kanigi (1953–) 118
  • Carrie Burnham Kilgore (1838–1909) 123
  • Helen Kinnear (1894–1970) 129
  • Claire L’Heureux-DubÉ (1927–) 136
  • Jutta Limbach (1934–) 144
  • Burnita Shelton Matthews (1894–1988) 150
  • Beverley McIachlin (1943–) 159
  • Soia Mentschikoff (1915–1984) 171
  • Constance Baker Motley (1921–) 180
  • Emily Ferguson Murphy (1868–1933) 190
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1938–) 202
  • Sandra Day O’Connor (1930–) 210
  • Sadako Ogata (1927–) 219
  • Cecilia MuÑoz Palma (1913–) 231
  • Tamar Pelleg-Sryck (1926–) 237
  • Janet Reno (1938–) 248
  • Mary Robinson (1944–) 257
  • Flerida Ruth P. Romero (193?–) 266
  • Simone RozÈs-Ludwig (1920–) 271
  • Wiltraut Rupp-Von BrÜnneck (1912–1977) 277
  • Helga Seibert (1939–) 283
  • Elisabeth Selbert (1896–1986) 288
  • Margaret a. Somerville (1942–) 292
  • Helene StÖcker (1869–1943) 299
  • Helen Suzman (1917–) 304
  • Leah Tsemel (1945–) 312
  • Agathe Uwilingiyimana (1953–1994) 323
  • Simone Veil-Jacob (1927–) 329
  • Bertha Wilson (1923–) 338
  • Appendix 349
  • Selected Bibliography 353
  • Index 357
  • About the Editors and Contributors 371
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