By: Farrah Rajan
Justice Minister Peter Mackay claims that women are not applying to be judges because it may take them away from time with their children. Although his comments were made in reference to the lack of diversity on federally appointed courts, the mindset can be applied to all people in the workforce, regardless of gender or profession.
After reading about his comments, I was both confused and offended because:
- He did not address the scarcity of visible minorities (which is an issue that deserves its own post)
- Not all women are, or will be, mothers
- Classifying all women as mothers is sexist
- He is blaming women for the lack of diversity
Thankfully, we have people like Avvy Yao-Yao Go willing to take a stand to dispute such ignorance. The problem is that as long as the Mr. Mackay’s are running the show, achieving an optimal work-life balance will remain elusive for the majority of women and visible minorities across Canada.
As Omar He-Redeye points out, “many visible minorities in Canada still believe that a profession is one of the more stable routes to successful lifestyle. Perhaps nobody told them that the chances of them making partner are even worse than their peers”.
I would like to think that I will be able to achieve great things in my future career as a paralegal, but as a visible minority female, I wonder how much I will need to sacrifice in order to do so. In the past, I have compromised my health and personal relationships in order to fulfill work obligations. More recently, I took a stand to protect my mental health and it resulted in me being forced to take an unpaid leave of absence.
Jordan Furlong thinks “work-life balance is a [legal professional’s] personal choice and responsibility”; I think it is a systemic issue that needs to be dealt with.