Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



feminism, social justice, judging, gender


Bertha Wilson was the first woman to be appointed to Canada's Supreme Court in 1982. Her appointment capped off a career of firsts. She had been the first woman lawyer and partner at a prominent Toronto law firm and the first woman appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Her career and passing in 2007 have provoked reflection on her contributions to Canadian society and caused many to reflect on the question she herself posed: what difference do women judges make? What follows is an excerpt from the introduction to the book. The chapters of the book explore a broad range of Justice Wilson's contributions, including her contributions to the evolution of research departments in law firms, judicial education, commercial and contract law, alongside her more controversial and famous decisions in constitutional, family, and criminal law.