Women Challenging the Constitution: New Evidence

A very interesting new article from Naomi Black and Louise Carbert looks at the 1980-81 constitutional issues and the role of feminists at the time, taking a critical view of the role of the CACSW. This article adds an important analysis that is missing in Constitute!
“This case study of Canadian constitutional history underscores and confirms the importance of institutional analysis — feminist institutionalism — to achieve an accurate understanding of the complex legislative and constitutional events that are all too easily overshadowed by the media controversies of the day. In order to assess the impact of insider and outsider strategies, we developed a counterfactual analysis of what would have happened without the dramatic standoff. In general, feminist institutionalism directed us to the role of institutional structures in the pursuit of gender equality. For both good and bad, such efforts in Canada are nested in the structures, norms, and cultures of a Westminster parliamentary system. As a result, as this article shows, senior women bureaucrats and party insiders were more influential than was previously thought. To quote Ad Hocker Marilou McPhedran’s reflection after the rescue of section 28 from the override: “To make any lasting change you have to participate in the workings of an institution, and that’s what we didn’t do”.” From Introduction Women Challenging the Constitution: New Evidence. Atlantis 37.2 (1), 2015/2016
Read the whole piece here: