On February 13, 2008, CBABC WLF hosted a sell-out crowd of more than 300 people at the Four Seasons Hotel for the second Signature Event Luncheon which featured an inspiring and thoughtful speech by Maureen McTeer.
Maureen described a fascinating life in the law while raising her daughter and supporting her husband, the former Prime Minister and Conservative Leader, Joe Clark. She reminded us how much has changed for women and women lawyers from the, not so long ago, days when she was criticized for daring to keep her own name and not take on her husband’s.
Maureen’s remarkable legal career of research, teaching, international advocacy (especially on issues relating to women’s health), the intersection of biotechnology, and ethics and the law were an inspiring example of what one woman lawyer can achieve.
While these vignettes resonated with the women attending, the most important message was that the barriers facing women in our profession still exist. Maureen McTeer referred to the "maternal walls" that she said were "to keep us inside the box – even when we thought we had cracked the glass ceiling."* We were all exhorted to stand together "as we did in the late 1970s to protect and promote the values on justice and fairness that are at the heart of s.15 and s.28 of the Charter."* Maureen McTeer was not projecting a message of gloom, but of energy and inspiration. Many guests appeared to be moved by her message to rally and engage in positive action.
Maureen McTeer was a most delightful guest. She was gracious and personable to all who spoke with her after the luncheon, and was quick to share laughter and insights with all of us.
* cited from Maureen McTeer’s speech reproduced in full in The Vancouver Sun, February 29, 2008 at A-15.