International Women’s Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day: Friday, March 8, 2024

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International Women’s Day (IWD) is March 8, 2024. The Canadian Bar Association Nova Scotia Branch (CBA-NS) Women Lawyers’ Forum, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society (NSBS) and NS Chapter of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL) are hosting an event for women in the legal profession to gather, discuss, and make plans for action on issues of importance and relevance. The popular event is full, but a wait list is available via

The first International Women’s Day (IWD) was held in 1911. Now, more than a century later, IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. IWD isn’t specific to a particular country, group, or organization—it belongs to everyone committed to forging women’s equality. We recognize the importance of intersectionality every year as we celebrate IWD.

The UN Women theme for IWD 2024 is “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”.

In a world facing multiple crises that are putting immense pressure on communities, achieving gender equality is more vital than ever. Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights across all aspects of life is the only way to secure prosperous and just economies, and a healthy planet for future generations.  

The IWD 2024 campaign theme is “Inspire Inclusion”.

When women aren’t present, we must ask: “If not, why not?”

When women are discriminated against, we must call out poor practice.

When the treatment of women is not equitable, we must take action.

And we must do this each time, every time. #IWD2024 #InspireInclusion

The Society’s Gender Equity Committee (GEC) conducted a survey in September 2022 to address lawyers’ experiences with gender-based harassment and discrimination in legal workplaces. We are pleased to present the findings in this report: Gender Equity Committee: Report on Gender Discrimination and Harassment Survey – Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society ( 

The GEC also made recommendations which Council adopted on May 26, 2023, as follows:

  • Creation of a locum registry to help law firms find temporary and short-term replacements for leave absences.
  • Work with LIANS to promote and implement meaningful wellness and mentorship support for members coming back from leave absences.
  • Reconsider Society and insurance fee structure and “member type” for members on leave.
  • Develop, implement, and follow trauma-informed complaint process, including formal and restorative justice options, for gender-based harassment and discrimination.
  • Develop and make available model anti-harassment and discrimination policies, including pregnancy and parental leave policies.
  • Publicly acknowledge and condemn the existence of gender-based harassment and discrimination in the legal profession.
  • Continue to have GEC conduct periodic surveys of members regarding gender-based harassment and discrimination.
  • Provide trauma-informed professional development resources, education, and training regarding gender-based harassment and discrimination, including understanding, identifying, preventing, and reporting sexual harassment and the effects of being a bystander.
  • Provide the May 2022 Report on Gender Discrimination and Harassment Survey, as well as this Recommendations memorandum, to the Chief Justices of Nova Scotia, with an offer to provide professional development support to the judiciary. 
  • Investigate / evaluate Society’s past and current responses to gender-based harassment and discrimination.

Women in the Legal Profession — Resources

There was a recent article in the Toronto Star about gender-based discrimination and harassment in the legal profession.

This Lexpert article covers similar ground: Women in Law: How the legal sector still fails female lawyers and why true equality remains elusive | Lexpert

For a great learning resource, we suggest this piece from the International Bar Association: Retention strategies for female talent in law firms | International Bar Association (

The IBA Women Lawyers’ Committee has some helpful toolkits and resources, too: Committee Details | International Bar Association (