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Law and Mothering

  • By: Joanne C. Minaker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

In the 1989 case of Brooks v. Canada Safeway Ltd., Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that a woman discriminated against on the basis of sex was contrary to human rights legislation and the equality guarantee in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982).

The Canadian Justice deemed it “unfair to impose all of the costs of pregnancy upon one half of the population… [women] should not be economically or socially disadvantaged.” For Lorna Turnball, who described herself at the time as a “young feminist and newly minted law student,” Brooks “inspired hope and a belief that gender equality might actually be attainable.” She continued that it “stood as a defining moment of feminist engagement with the law.” At the ...

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