Common Law students Madeline Tater and Aleah McCormick participate in a Feminist Law Reform workshop hosted by the National Association Women and Law (NAWL)

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Workshops and tutorials
Faculty of Law - Common Law Section

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

Students Madeline tater and Aleah McCormick
Photo taken at the Feminist Law Reform workshop in Whitehorse. Left photo (L-R): Professor Martha Jackman, MP Brendan Hanley, Madeline Tater, Aleah McCormick.
Madeline Tater and Aleah McCormick travelled to Whitehorse, Yukon to participate in NAWL’s Feminist Law Reform workshop.

With generous financial support from the Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession, Common Law students Madeline Tater and Aleah McCormick participated in the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) Feminist Law Reform Workshop in Whitehorse, Yukon on September 28 and 29, 2022.  

This workshop, which is based on NAWL’s FLR101 online course, was the first of a cross-country series that aims to equip local activists with practical tools to engage in feminist law reform through an intersectional lens. NAWL developed the direct access course to provide law students, social justice advocates, activists, and organizations with an opportunity to advocate for feminist law reform and the promotion of equal rights.  

Madeline and Aleah are both third-year Common Law students currently completing an internship with NAWL.  

Prior to law school, Madeline received a BA in legal studies and English literature. “With over four years of experience working in the field of public health policy and regulation, I am particularly interested in the intersection between public health, feminist legal issues, and social justice, a passion which I channel into volunteer positions with Planned Parenthood Ottawa, LEAF Ottawa, and the University of Ottawa Health Law Students’ Association (HLSA),” Madeline said.  

Aleah is interested in the legal and political aspects of health, human rights, and the intersection of feminist law in reforming health and social policies. Prior to starting law school, she completed a degree in nursing. “I am currently working as a registered nurse in a specialized acute care setting in Ottawa. I completed a Santéship in my first year of law school and worked as a research assistant for Distinguished Professor Constance Backhouse. These opportunities provided me with incredible role models and exposure to research and advocacy,” said Aleah.  

Madeline and Aleah were both facilitators and participants, gaining insight from the attendees, panelists, and keynote speakers who attended the workshop in Whitehorse. “Professor Martha Jackman shared her expertise on feminist law reform at the federal level and feminist lawyer Pamela Cross gave a keynote address on the timely topic of inquests and inquiries into femicide,” they said.  

Madeline and Aleah actively took part in a full-day workshop on September 29 that addressed such topics as “Intersectional Feminist Law Reform: What is it and how to do it?”, “Advice from the Feminist Trenches”, and “Making Effective Use of Advocacy Tools to Advance Feminist Issues”. They said that “meeting these community leaders in person and hearing how they engage in feminist law reform was inspiring, to say the least.” 

What’s even more impressive is that Madeline and Aleah created and organized a workbook to host and conduct an extraordinarily successful workshop on campaign creation: “Feminist Climate Action Now!” This climate protection workshop, held on the evening of September 28, brought together a wide range of Yukon-based youth, including environmental and social justice activists, whose lived experiences in the territory actualized the session’s discussions in such a meaningful way.   

“Our goal was to invite participants to learn and reflect on the gendered impacts of the climate crisis, while becoming versed in how coalition building, letter writing, social media and digital advocacy can help bolster their advocacy work.” 

Madeline and Aleah provided participants with three skill-building sessions, namely on how to conduct effective social media, Parliamentary petition, and letter-writing campaigns. Furthermore, to support the workshop, they also developed a 12-page workbook that provides an accessible overview of what climate action law reform entails, with the intention of guiding participants through the exercises.  

“We were inspired to contribute to this project because we are passionate about grassroots advocacy. In developing the climate action workshop, we were eager to make accessible the course on climate crisis feminist law reform and to encourage individuals to find confidence in their own voices in support of community issues they are passionate about. NAWL’s vision is to take this workshop model and have law students from other provinces replicate the curriculum for young people in their own communities.” 

Madeline and Aleah appreciate the guidance and encouragement of Professor Martha Jackman and the expertise and assistance provided by the NAWL team of Tiffany Butler, Suzanne Zacour and Deirdre O'Beirne-Røsæg. “We would like to thank the Shirley E. Greenberg Chair, held by Professor Natasha Bakht, for their support and generosity, which allowed us to participate so fully in the launch of NAWL’s Feminist Law Reform workshop series.” 

The two students are grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about the importance of community-led action to achieve systemic change. “Uniting people on issues of shared importance and creating space to reflect on the challenges and barriers [is vital … and]  equipping people with the tools to engage in feminist law reform as a means of addressing the local issues they care about also stands as a powerful solution!” 

On behalf of the Common Law Section, we would like to congratulate Madeline Tater and Aleah McCormick for this amazing achievement and we wish them continued success.