Women’s rights and minorities’ rights in Canada. The challenges of intersectionality in Supreme Court jurisprudence

Open access


After a discussion of the impact of the principle of equality, entrenched in the Charters approved in Canada since the 1867 British North American Act, this essay then focuses on the related Supreme Court’s adjudications. A brief analysis of the case-law concerning gender equality is followed by the discussion of cases of Aboriginal and Muslim women with the aim of assessing whether intersectionality represents for these groups of women a source of double discrimination. Brief concluding remarks discuss the challenges deriving from the different options for accommodating the principle of equality with cultural rights.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • • Arbour Jane M. 2003 ‘The Protection of Aboriginal Rights Within a Human Rights Regime: In Search of an Analytical Framework for Section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ Supreme Court Law Review XXI: 3.

  • • Baines Beverley 2005a ‘Is Substantive Equality a Constitutional Doctrine?’ Queen’s University Legal Research Paper n. 2015-042.

  • • Baines Beverley 2005b ‘Using the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to Constitute Women’ in Baines Beverley and Ruth Rubio-Marin (eds) The Gender of Constitutional Jurisprudence Cambridge University Press Cambridge.

  • • Baines Beverley 2012 ‘Comparing Women in Canada’ Feminist Legal Studies XX(2): 89-103.

  • • Bonifacio Glenda Tibe 2012 ‘Introduction’ in Bonifacio Glenda Tibe (ed) Feminism and Migration: cross-cultural engagements Springer London

  • • Boyd Susan B. 2004 ‘The responsible divorce?’ Canadian Journal of Women and the Law XVI: 397-400.

  • • Bryan Penelope 1999 ‘Collaborative Divorce’: meaningful reform or another quick fix? Psychology Public Policy and Law V(4): 1001-1117.

  • • Canada Special Committee on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence n. 1-12 12-29 July 1960 643.

  • • Carens Joseph H. 1990 ‘Difference and domination: reflections on the relation between pluralism and equality’ Nomos XXXII: 226-250

  • • Ceccherini Eleonora 2016 ‘Canadian Aboriginal Law: la sfida della diversità’ Studi parlamentari e di politica costituzionale CXCIII-CXCIV: 23-61.

  • • Cleverdon Catherine L.. 1974 The women suffrage movement in Canada University of Toronto Press Toronto.

  • • Devaux Monique 2000 ‘Conflicting equalities? Cultural group rights and sexual equality’ Political studies XLVIII(3): 522-539.

  • • Fournier Pascale and See Erica 2014 ‘The “naked face” of secular exclusion. Bill 94 and the privatization of belief’ in Lefevbre Solange and Beaman Lori G. (eds) Religion in the Public Sphere. Canadian Case Studies University of Toronto Press Toronto 275-292.

  • • Goel Rashmi 2000 ‘No women at the center. The use of the Canadian sentencing circle in domestic violence cases’ Wisconsin Women’s Law Journal XV: 293-334.

  • • Harder Lois and Patten Steve (eds) 2015 Patriation and its consequences. Constitution Making in Canada University of British Columbia Press Vancouver.

  • • Huntington Samuel P. 1993 ‘The Clash of Civilizations?’ Foreign Affairs LXXII(1): 22-49

  • • Huntington Samuel P. 1997 The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order Simon & Schuster New York

  • • Jamieson Kathleen 1978 Indian Women and the Law in Canada: Citizens Minus Advisory Council on the Status of Women Ottawa.

  • • Kymlika Will 1995 Multicultural citizenship Oxford University Press Oxford.

  • • Kymlika Will 1997 ‘Liberal complacencies’ The Boston Review XXII: 29-30.

  • • Ladner Kiera 2015 ‘An indigenous constitutional paradox: both monumental achievement and monumental defeat’ in Harder Lois and Patten Steve (eds) 2015 Patriation and its consequences. Constitution Making in Canada University of British Columbia Press Vancouver 267-289.

  • • La Barbera MariaCaterina 2009 ‘Intersectional Gender: Thinking about Gender and Cultural Difference in the Global Society’ The Global Studies Journal II.

  • • La Barbera MariaCaterina 2012 Intersectional-Gender and the Locationality of Women ‘in transit’ in Bonifacio Glenda Tibe (ed) Feminism and Migration: cross-cultural engagements Springer London

  • • MacLaren Sherrill 1991 Invisible Power: Behind the Scenes with Canadian Women of Influence Seal Books Toronto.

  • • McIvor Sharon 2004 ‘Aboriginal Women Unmasked: Using Equality Litigation to Advance Women’s Rights’ Canadian Journal of Women and the Law XVI: 106

  • • Monture-Okanee Patricia A. 1992 ‘The Roles and Responsibilities of Aboriginal Women: Reclaiming Justice’ Saskatchewan Law Review LVI(2): 237-266.

  • • Native Women’s Association of Canada Section 1.2 of the Canadian Human Rights Act: Balancing Collective and Individual Rights and the Principle of Gender Equality July 2010.

  • • Okin Susan 1997 ‘Is multiculturalism bad for women?’ The Boston Review XXII: 25-25.

  • • Paludi Michelle 2010 ‘Introduction’ in Paludi Michelle A. (ed) Feminism and women’s rights worldwide: heritage roles and issues ABC-CLIO Santa Barbara.

  • • Parekh Bhikhu 1996 ‘Minority Practices and Principles of toleration’ International Migration Review XXX(1): 251-284.

  • • Pentney William 1988 ‘The rights of Aboriginal peoples of Canada and the Constitutional Act 1982’ University of British Columbia Law Review XXII(2): 207-278.

  • • Said Edward W. 1979 Orientalism Vantage Books New York.

  • • Scotti Valentina R. 2014 ‘Il multiculturalismo canadese e le comunità islamiche: due casi di studio per un problematico percorso di integrazione’ in Ceccherini Eleonora (ed) 1982-2012 A trent’anni dalla Patriation canadese. Riflessioni della dottrina italiana Università di Genova Press Genova

  • • Sharpe Robert J. and McMahon Patricia I. 2007 The Persons Case: the origins and legacy of the fight for legal personhood University of Toronto Press Toronto.

  • • Volpp Leti 1996. ‘Talking “culture”: gender. Race nation and the politics of multiculturalism’ Columbia Law Review XCVI(6): 1573-1617.

  • • Wall David S. 2001 ‘Canadian Aboriginal circles: alternative or compromise in the politics of criminal justice’ in Thornton Martin and Todd Roy (eds) Aboriginal Peoples and Other Canadians University of Ottawa Press Ottawa 161.

  • • Weaver Sally 1974 ‘Judicial Preservation of Ethnic Group Boundaries: the Iroquois case’ in Barkow Jerome H. (ed) Proceedings of first congress. Canadian Ethnology Society National Museums of Man Mercury Series Ottawa 48.

  • • Weaver Sally 1981 Making Canadian Indian Policy. The hidden agenda 1968-70 University of Toronto Press Toronto.

  • • Wilkins Kerry (ed) 2004 Advancing Aboriginal Claims: Visions Strategies Directions Centre for Constitutional Studies University of Alberta Edmonton.

  • • Yeğenoğlu Meyda 1998 Colonial Fantasies: Towards a Feminist Reading of Orientalism Cambridge University Press Cambridge.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 0.04

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.105
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.03

Target audience: researchers, academics, practitioners interested in the field of political, economic and legal issues in federal states, regional organizations, and international organizations at global level
Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 700 445 45
PDF Downloads 420 299 40